Ep 064: Teaching Kids Kindness with The Ruth Experience

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We all desire for our kids to be kind. We want them to know what respect is and understand how to genuinely treat others with that respect. And that can be a tough thing to teach our kids, especially when we look at society today and see all the bullying and disrespect in the world. Fostering kindness starts in the home, between parents and among siblings. Once that kindness is established, kids will step outside of their little bubbles and respect others with a greater understanding of what it means. They can grow in kindness towards their friends, as well as those they have differences with. And it is such a beautiful thing to watch them grow in! It's like planting a seed and then it grows.

Kristin, Kendra, and Julie are the founders of The Ruth Experience,  which is all about living out authentic faith, fostering positive community, intentional living, and also living really generously. They teach women how to be kind to others and how they can teach their kids to be kind. It's not really about the acts of kindness or even what it's doing for the other person that you're affecting. It's that it's changing your mindset to get into the habit of just always having that “giving” state of mind that will become apart of your kids lives too!

 
 

In This Episode, Allie, Kristin, Kendra, and Julie Discuss:

  • The importance of teaching your kids the heart behind kindness, especially as they face others who may not be as kind.

  • How to teach your kids respectful boundaries between being kind and being a “doormat.”

  • Their approach to helping kids learn how to approach bullying with kindness.

  • Ways you can help foster kindness between all of your kids, as siblings.  

Mentioned in this Episode:

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Hey friend! I'm so excited to tell you about my upcoming free online class: 3 Weeks To Minimalist Motherhood.

In this class, you are going to learn the secret to not living your life in a state of constant overwhelm. It's minimalism and it's going to have you cleaning, yelling, stressing, and nagging a whole lot less. I'm also going to show you how you can take a bite out of this secret process and start right away.

We're going to go over the three biggest time and energy sucking areas of your home and I'm going to show you how to get started in those areas – Now!

In 3 weeks, you will have a much more minimal motherhood and you'll be feeling a lot lighter.

I'm also going to give you an exclusive discount on my course, Your Uncluttered Home, and show you the next step after you get started so you can go all the way and change your home and your life for good.


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is                   The Purpose Show.

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Welcome friends to another episode of The Purpose Show!

Today I am sitting down with Kristin, Kendra, and Julie of The Ruth Experience, and my conversation with them was really special. These women are just gems. We do video when I record guest episodes just because I think it builds a stronger connection between myself and my guests and their faces are just glowing. They're such sweet women.

They're so happy. Their joy and their generosity really just beams on their faces from within. Truly, they are just a few of the best women I've come to meet.

The Ruth Experience is about living out authentic faith, fostering positive community, intentional living, and also living really generously. They teach women how to be kind to others and how to help us teach our kids to be kind.

If you follow me on Instagram, and you've been there for a little while, you might remember a few months ago before I recorded this episode that I asked you guys what you wanted to know about teaching your kids kindness. You guys responded with a flood of helpful questions about fostering kindness between siblings, what to do about bullies at school, how to teach your kids to be kind to their friends despite differences. All kinds of great stuff. And I loved the questions so much, I was excited to hear the answers to them. So, this is my episode with The Ruth Experience. Sit down with a cup of coffee. This is going to be really good. You're really going to enjoy this.

ALLIE: Hey, beautiful mamas! Welcome to another episode of The Purpose Show!

I am sitting here with the women from The Ruth Experience. We have Kristin, Kendra and Julie. Hi ladies! Thank you, guys, for being here. I'm hoping we can make this work really well even though there's four of us. I know when I had the podcast with Kelsey and we would do like an interview with another twosome, it was always just a lot of people talking, but I think it's great because there's so many different minds here and so many experiences here. So, these interviews are always just so great and I am really thankful for you guys being here. I think it's going to be so good.

So why don't you guys tell the audience a little bit about who you are and what you're passionate about. You guys have a really specific mission, so let's hear a little bit about that.

GUESTS: This is Julie. The three of us have been doing life together for over a decade and so when you do that, you really grow together as a family. It was probably about five years ago that we were sitting around (it was November) and we were having coffee in a coffee shop, talking about the upcoming Christmas season and just sort of lamenting how commercial our Christmas seasons have become.

And that's when we really first started talking about kindness with our families, our children, and wanting to do the Christmas season differently than what we had done in the past. And so that's really what this came out of.

It began over Christmas and then we did that for a couple of years and then we just rolled it out into other areas of our lives. As we were intentional about it, it became part of our lives and part of our everyday day-to-day thinking. And then sort of poured over into our kids. And so that's how we just really, in a superficial nutshell, sit here today. It started because we just wanted something different for our kids when we were looking around at the Christmas season.

ALLIE: Yeah, I love that. And I also love that this really came from your desire for something better for your kids. And so that's our topic today. Just talking about how you can teach kids to be kind, what kindness looks like. I think also just teaching them to kind of step outside of themselves.

Like I was saying before we recorded, I polled my audience for what they would want to know about this topic from you guys and I think it's gonna be so good. It's all great.

But also aside from just how to deal with boundaries, and when someone else is not kind to you or being kind to somebody else. Also, just giving them a taste of something outside of their little bubble and being kind to others.

I love that about the holiday season. How can we focus on what it really is supposed to be about, giving to our community and being kind people. I just think there's so many different avenues of what you guys are doing.

But for today we're going to dive into teaching kids kindness, talking about sibling stuff. And I have lots of questions for you guys. So, let's dive in.

One thing I wanted to ask you guys about is, you know, I think bullying is sadly such a giant problem right now. You know, my kids are home now but we did a little stint of public school last year and I saw a little taste of just kids are so mean. The girl stuff is so young now. My daughter is in third grade and it was like fifth grade, sixth grade stuff when I was little. It's just sad.

I've got a really good friend of mine who's currently dealing with her son is being actively bullied at school, and it's just like these little “kindness pep rally” things at school and that's really it. There's nothing really being done about it. It's just sad.

Why do you think this is happening? Why do you think that kids are so mean today? Where is this coming from?

GUESTS: I'll speak to a little bit of it. So I have a fourth grader, a daughter, and it's been interesting raising a daughter in this day and age and helping her navigate some difficult social situations. I feel like some of it is coming from us as adults to be quite honest.

If you look at our TV shows, the reality TV shows that are on the TV, the sharp verbal retorts are what are celebrated. Being mean to one another is what is celebrated. And if that's what we're seeing - if we're not really, really careful, that just seeps into us. And then as women, and we don't even completely think about it, but we then start with a sharp verbal retort or snarkiness. You know, everybody talks about how wonderful it is to be snarky and they laugh about it. Even on social media, a lot of times the memes are very, very cutting. Our humor has become very cutting. The late night tv shows - that humor a lot of times is very cutting.

I’ve been convicted honestly about some of those late night TV comedy shows because it was such cutting humor and I realized that that was seeping into me in a way that I didn't like about myself. And I wonder if some of that isn't seeping into our kids too, because our society is celebrating that sharpness instead of humor that isn't funny at somebody else's expense.

ALLIE: Yeah, that makes sense. I just think no matter where it's coming from, if we're right or wrong about that, it is such an important time to teach our kids about kindness. There's so many things going on in schools, issues that kids are going through so much earlier than they ever have. Some things are just openly being talked about at school and even outside of school. I'm definitely not a mom who homeschools my kids out of sheltering or anything, it's just what works for our family, but you see it everywhere.

Neighbor friends will talk about things. If they're not going to go to school, they're going to hear about things from someone else.

Things are being talked about openly that have never been talked about openly before. I think it's all kind of masked in this like, “Well, we're all inclusive and everyone's free to be who they are.” Whether you see that as good or negative, it's really opening the door to these kids just being picked on for very personal things. It's a war out there and it's frightening.

So, I would love to know what are some of the best practices, in your opinions, for helping kids kind of understand the heart behind how they're treating other people? Maybe they're being kind, they are a kind kid, they're not really your problem, but other kids are not. Maybe a little one is happy to share, but their friend never shares and that's super cutting to them, really hurts them. How can you kind of express the heart behind kind of, “This is how the world works. Sometimes you're super nice and everyone else isn't.” I don't know if that even makes sense, but how do you communicate this to them, how things work, and communicate the importance of kindness?

GUESTS: That's a really good question. I think there are several things. We have kids of all different ages within our families and so a lot of times with younger children, you know, one of the things you had mentioned was even having appropriate boundaries. And so, we start talking with our kids really early on about having appropriate boundaries and also talking with them about how our response is not necessarily dependent on what somebody else says to us. That our heart doesn't change no matter how people react or what they say to us.

And so we talk a lot about having appropriate boundaries and what's healthy and what's not. That we don't have to allow in, you know, if someone's bullying you or being unkind or saying unkind things, we don't have to sit there and take that. But at the same time, we're not going to respond in the same manner and we can guard our heart a little bit where it doesn't change who we are just based on how somebody is responding or reacting to us. Our kids are starting to understand that.

And in fact, I was, telling these guys that my 16-year-old son just started a job at a local sandwich shop. He really has enjoyed it, but working in the service profession, he has gotten quite a taste of how people treat service workers, and he comes home sometimes really upset because people are not kind in the way that they talked to him. And we've had a lot of conversations about how to respond, even when people are, you know, sometimes downright nasty. I mean they're just, they're just not kind at all.

And so again, coming back to that idea that it doesn't have to change who we are, it doesn't change our heart regardless of how people react to us.

GUESTS: One thing I also talked my kiddos about is hurt people have a tendency to hurt people. And so, if they're struggling with somebody who's being unkind to them, we try to have a conversation about what might be happening in that other child's life, what circumstances they might be going through that either they know or don't know about. And then as Kendra said, you know, still having appropriate boundaries, but also understanding that sometimes it's a reaction to being hurt versus a personal attack.

I think if you keep it in that perspective, sometimes it takes a little bit of the personal attack out of it. It still allows you to handle it, but understanding it might not be quite so personally directed at you, intentionally or not.

Let's be honest, sometimes there are situations you have to get adults involved and you have to get teachers involved because it isn't okay. And it is very personal and it's very direct and we have to step in as parents at those points and do something more about it. But I'm just talking about kids being kids and being mean.

ALLIE: So on that note of boundaries, what does that maybe more practically look like? I feel like, (and I was kind of having this back and forth conversation with somebody on Instagram yesterday about her question), the fact that kids don't really have the same options, I guess for lack of a better word, as adults with setting boundaries. I mean as an adult you can kind of choose where you are and who you are around. I mean I guess if it's in the workplace or something it's kind of different. But kids go where the adults tell them they're going to go, at school they sit next to who they're going to sit next to - it is what it is. And they're kids so it's just different.

So, if somebody is repeatedly unkind to them and there is maybe a boundary that needs to be put in place for them, what are some of the things that you say? How do you tell your kids to actually physically handle the situation of putting down boundaries? What might that look like?

GUESTS: I mean, I think one of the things that we do on a really practical level is to sort of “role play” almost, and kind of problem solve with them and think about, “Okay, so if somebody says X, Y, Z to you, what could you say back? How could you respond back?” I think kids, like you said, they don't have a lot of options, they’re used to being told what to do. They're not always used to fixing their own problems, right?

And so, we want them to know that they do have a sense of agency in responding to people who are unkind or who are bullying. Like Julie said, if it rises to the level where adults need to get involved, that's fine. But otherwise we really try to have them figure out, or even like I said, role play and give them some specific words or phrases to use so that if the situation happens again, they know what they could possibly say, how they could deflect it, or a way to move beyond it.

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Hey friend! I'm so excited to tell you about my upcoming free online class: 3 Weeks To Minimalist Motherhood.

In this class, you are going to learn the secret to not living your life in a state of constant overwhelm. It's minimalism and it's going to have you cleaning, yelling, stressing, and nagging a whole lot less. I'm also going to show you how you can take a bite out of this secret process and start right away.

We're going to go over the three biggest time and energy sucking areas of your home and I'm going to show you how to get started in those areas – Now!

In 3 weeks, you will have a much more minimal motherhood and you'll be feeling a lot lighter.

I'm also going to give you an exclusive discount on my course, Your Uncluttered Home, and show you the next step after you get started so you can go all the way and change your home and your life for good.

These online classes are always in serious demand and they don't come around too often, so I want you to snag a spot. Make sure you get one and sign up.

You can go to alliecasazza.com/freeclass. It's totally free!

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ALLIE: Let's talk for a second about siblings. I got this message more than any other message yesterday. I'm so proud of them (my kids). They're super kind people. They're always noticing that, “Wow! That was really…I would never do that.” But then to each other is a totally different story. You know, sibling rivalry.

I could tell in some of the messages I was getting that these moms were really worried like, “Am I the only one?” No, that’s just how it goes sometimes. Maybe we could have an open conversation about fostering kindness between siblings because it is a totally different ballgame. And so often against the personalities and the behavior that you see in your kids outside of the home. I think we just get super comfortable and it's like a little war out there in our own homes between siblings.

So, what is your guys' take on that? How do you foster kindness between siblings? I want to leave the door open for you guys to talk about that topic.

GUESTS: One thing I was thinking about when it comes to siblings is again, like with people in general, having compassion and this idea of being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes. I talk about this a lot with my kids even in regards to their siblings is when they come to us and one of them has been unkind or they're yelling at each other is to have them stop and like, “Look at your sister's face right now. Look at what you said, what kind of emotion do you see there?”

And having them tell me what it is that they're seeing. You know, she's upset, she's hurt, she's crying. For them to pause for a moment and see the humanity, the humanness, because I think sometimes within a family, that's where we lose it a lot because we’re so close that we just forget that this is actually a person and that their feelings are hurt.

And then we talk a lot about how does it feel if you were in their shoes right now. We do this outside the home, but even within our homes, having our kids recognize what does it feel like to put yourself in their shoes. And again, noticing the emotion that's behind the person's hurt feelings because a lot of times when they come at each other with anger, anger is usually an emotion that's covering or hiding something else.

I'm a mom. I'm busy. It doesn't always happen perfectly, but if I can say, “Okay, let's pull the anger out of it. Anger is what we express, but what is the emotion that you see behind it?” And having our kids kind of have compassion for one another is really, really important.

GUESTS: I agree with what Kendra is saying. I would also say, and we've talked about this a lot, the three of us, it is sometimes far easier to be kind to a complete stranger than it is to be kind to your loved ones because we feel that that's our safe zone. And so, they get to see our ugly that we would hide from anybody else. That goes as much for our children as it does for spouses and for people that are living under the same roof.

And so just acknowledging, I think that first, that we're feeling like we're in our safe spot and that's where we're going to let all of our ugly hang out, especially as kids, because they maybe don't know how else to express emotions or express big feelings and it tends to come out in ugly ways.

One of the things that my husband and I do is once the anger is dissipated - we have to first deal with that - but then we bring people back around for a conversation. We try to model what a healthy relationship looks like for our kids.

So that means we say things like, “Do you see your dad and I screaming ugly names at one another when we're having a disagreement? Do you see your dad and I shoving one another when we're having a disagreement?” And so, we have these very intentional conversations about healthy conflict with our kids. Now, again, once the dust has settled, right, and all of the emotion’s out of it.

We then pull back around and we do have very intentional conversations about what it means to be in healthy conflict with one another. This is not perfect. This is not like a “one and done.” We have these conversations over and over again. But we want our kids to know how to engage with one another and with other loved ones in their future lives in ways that doesn't tear people apart.

And so, we're not there yet, but that's our hope at least is that we're teaching them some healthy conflict habits. Your sibling is going to be like the person you practice on, but some day you're going to be maybe married and have kids of your own.

GUESTS: This is really minor, but one of the practical things that we do in our house is we have this thing called a “bicker bucket.” So, if my kids are bickering, I'll pull out the bucket, right? And they pull out the slips of paper. Sometimes it's chores, but it's usually things like write a poem about your sister and how much you love her or write your 10 favorite things about your sister.

ALLIE: That is such an amazing idea. I'm writing it down.

GUESTS: You know what is funny though? My 8-year-old tolerates it. My 6-year-old loves it and she will actually ask for more slips of paper. So you know it doesn't always work, but sometimes it’s enough to just pull them out of the moment, out of whatever they're bickering about and refocus them on, “Okay, I do love my sister and these are the 10 things that I love about her.”

ALLIE: Yeah. That's sweet. And I think too what you said, Julie, about that they are like that because this is their safe zone and we're like that too. And like I was saying, I noticed in a lot of the messages that I got about this episode that these women were kind of stressed that this was happening in their home and I was thinking “well that happens here, I just don’t really think about it,” but I also grew up in a big family so I understand that it just gets crazy.

But I think it's comforting to us as moms that, well look at yourself. We all do that. You can be nagging at your husband and bickering really bad and then the pizza guy knocks on the door and you're like, “Hi!” and way nicer to a stranger than your own husband. It's just human nature.

So, I think it kind of alleviates a little bit and helps me feel like, “Well this is totally normal and it's okay,” but that doesn't mean that we're just like, “Oh, whatever.” You can be intentional to foster some changes and act that out yourself. I love that.

Okay. So, what are your feelings about forcing apologies between, I think this could be siblings or friend to friend with your kids? I have thought about this for so many years and never really known what to do. It feels almost like an adult's obligation to be like, “You need to say sorry for, you know, accidentally bumping your friend’s head with this toy guitar,” or whatever's happening because it's a little awkward. What else do I say here? “Say you’re sorry.”

And then between siblings, I find myself doing that too. And I got a lot of messages about this too. So, what is your take on that disingenuous/forced apologies situation between young kids?

GUESTS: You know, I do make my kids do that, but I make them do it in a specific way. They have to not just say “I'm sorry,” because my kids will try to mumble and get through it as quick as they can. And it's not really a true apology.

I make them say the person's name and I make them say what they're apologizing for. I think maybe they're still not truly apologetic, but at least there's a part of them that's recognizing that something occurred here that requires an apology. But my kids are pretty little still, so I don't know if you would require the same or not.

GUESTS: You know, I do. I've got a 10-year-old and an 8-year-old and especially when they were younger, I required apologies. Part of it is it's a habit. You form a habit of apologizing when you have done something that requires an apology. So, it's even just like learning that this is the kind of behavior that we exhibit. These are good manners.

One thing I have started doing, in our house our bedrooms are off of a circular landing and so my children’s doors are next to each other but also slightly tilted towards each other. And so, this last summer when we were home and they would just have too much of each other. I sent them each to their room and told them that they could not come out until they had worked it out themselves and apologized.

And so, they sat in their doorways and surprised and shocked me as a mom because I eavesdropped a little bit and they sincerely apologized and then actually talked out their differences. So, “Well John, when you did this, it made me feel” and I was like, “Oh, be still my heart!”

So, I think there is something to be said for forcing apology at least at some point so that they learn what that looks like and then continue to model it. But I don't know about older kids. I think that’s hard.

GUESTS: I think the modeling is probably one of the most important parts. I think one of the things that we're all quick to do is I'll apologize to my kids if I've messed up. And I think as adults we really have to take the lead on that. If we expect our kids to have honest and sincere apologies, then they better hear us apologize when we mess up.

And as Julie said, they better here it, you know, if you're married between you and your spouse, or genuinely apologizing to our kids because I mess up too. And so a lot of times, especially with my teenagers, I feel like that's really, really valid. That when they see that I am reciprocating, that mom doesn't expect me to be perfect or to do these things, that she's willing to meet me as well, it makes our relationship much more level and much more honest.

ALLIE: Yeah, I love that. Okay, so you have authored together several books, right? The most recent one, you so kindly, kindly sent to all the ladies on my team and I have mine. It's the One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional. So, tell us about that. Why did you guys write that? What was the inspiration there and what is your hope for all the women who get their hands on that?

GUESTS: So that book really came out of that coffee conversation I briefly mentioned. It really was birthed out of that conversation over a number of years. We did Advent Acts of Kindness for a couple of years and then Kristin came to us and said, “Hey, what if we did this all year long?” And we were like, “ Uh…sure!”

And so, we set out to do kindness for a year and kind of rotated between families and tried lots of different things. We failed and we were successful, but found that it really changed our hearts as adults, as women. And then also started to change our family's perspective in some significant ways. And so that book was birthed out of that. We never set out to write a 365-day devotional on kindness.

So that's where we came with it, but quite honestly the hope we get out of it, or we hope that others get out of it, is that your lives are changed. We find kindness to be, when we're intentional about it, empowering. So often in our culture and our society, we see things happening and our kids come home and they see things happening and feeling scared and hopeless about it. Like the hurricanes that hit Texas and Florida last year, one of the things that we did as a family is we came together with our kids and said, “Okay, what would you like to do to respond to this? How could we help out?”

Kendra was put in touch with a teacher down in Texas. Her classroom had been destroyed and she needed pencils and paper and just some basic resources. And so, we sent her gift cards. I'm going to cry, but our kids were a vital part of that. So, empowering our children so that when something bad is happening in the world, they are doers of good and they can do something affirmative instead of just sitting and feeling like things happen to them. I think that's been one of the biggest takeaways for us.

ALLIE: Yeah, I love that. It's super powerful and you know, I think that this whole topic is an area of life, but especially of raising kids that is so key and it's one of those things that just kind of slips under the radar. You don't think about it very often in and how sad is that when it's so important and so formative for the people that they ended up being. It's just so hard. Motherhood is hard and it's a lot of different pieces and things. It feels like so much to remember.

So what I love about the 365-day devotional, even just from flipping through it a little bit – Amazing! Totally applicable for our families, for your own self as an adult woman or for kids or for your entire family, and just full of these little things. You don't realize how simplistic being kind can be and just doing these tiny little acts.

It's not really about the acts or even what it's doing for the other person that you're affecting. It's that it's changing your mindset to kind of get into the habit of just always having that giving state of mind on the back burner. Then it becomes more at the front of your mind and you find yourself doing things more and more, and using things as teaching opportunities for your kids because you've been acting kind and putting that in your brain a little. It's like planting a seed and then it grows.

I love what you guys are doing. I think you're just amazing.

Where can our audience connect with you further and find more of what you're doing and the three of you together too, if they want to, after this episode?

GUESTS: They can find us directly at theruthexperience.com and we've got tabs for books. These two ladies are speakers and all kinds of different things. We blog on there regularly.

You can also find us on Facebook as The Ruth Experience, as well as Instagram.

We're always posting different resources for different times of year. So, it's not just that we focus on one specific time of year, but right now if you go to our website, on the sidebar, you can sign up to get some of our resources. And right now we've got resources for Free Acts of Kindness that you can do, How To Be Kind When You’re Tired, which I think is for moms especially. We have a lot of great resources like that.

So, find us on social media and we update there a lot.

ALLIE: Yeah. And I'll link to all that for you guys in the show notes so they can easily find you.

Well, thank you so much ladies. This was so, so wonderful. I'm really glad we had you on and thank you for all your wisdom and your encouragement. Everything that you said was great. Easily applicable and very grace-laced. That's helpful when you're a busy mom. Thank you, guys, so much for being here!


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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

 

Ep 063: Life Hacks for Moms of Littles

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Motherhood is chaotic, no matter which way you slice it. We could all use a helping hand from someone a few steps ahead of us. I’ve been a mom for nine years now. I had all four of my kids within five years and I rocked the stay-at-home mom thing for about seven years before I started my business from home and added that to the mix. If you are a mama who is “in the thick of it,” I have come up with these little tips and tricks that might make day-to-day life easier for you.

Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, whatever your circumstances are, just know that I'm here to lighten your load, give you a breath of fresh air and without actually being there, give you a hug, a little squeeze and say that we're all in this together. I hope that this episode does just that - lightens your load and makes you feel a little more hopeful and inspires you.

 
 

In This Episode, Allie Discusses:

  • How keeping the big picture as the focus will relieve you from sweating the small stuff.

  • Tips for running errands with little ones.

  • Ways to include your kids in housework and habits you can form to lighten your load when it comes to chores around your house.

  • The value of finding value in the things you accomplish everyday so you don’t feel defeated by not accomplishing it all.

  • Practical ways to prepare the night before so you can make the next day easier on you and your kids.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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Motherhood is hard. I am not going to lie to you about that. While it is servitude and giving to your family from yourself, it doesn’t have to be something that we are waiting to be over.  Something that we are counting down the minutes till naptime, or bedtime, or waiting for the next day to start. If you are wanting to sort through the clutter in your mind, your heart, your home calendar, your health, routines, and relationships, I created Unburdened just for you!

It is a guide that will help you go from drowning in the sea of stress and overwhelm, to owning your time and living the best version of your motherhood. So you can live abundantly while intentionally focusing on those who matter most.


who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is                   The Purpose Show.

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Hey, beautiful friends! Thank you so much for listening to my show today!

Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, whatever your circumstances are today, just know that before I hit record, I said a little prayer for you specifically. I'm here to lighten your load, give you a breath of fresh air and without actually being there, give you a hug, a little squeeze and say that we're all in this together. I hope that this episode does just that - lightens your load and makes you feel a little more hopeful and inspires you.

So, I'm really excited! I know I say that every time but I am really excited to do this episode. I actually took this content from something that I wrote years ago and I sent it out in an email, actually in a two-part email series to my email list, which if you're not on my email list, go to show notes and sign up for it.

I really treat my list well. There's extra special content that I send to those who are on my email list that is not sent to anyone else a lot of the time. It's really a great place to be if you want more encouragement, tips and tricks from me and stuff like that, to be the first to know whenever something new is going on.

So anyway, this is life hacks for moms of littles. I'm talking about if you have kids under 5, especially if you have multiple kids. Maybe you had your kids close together like I did and you're in the thick of that, little baby/toddler/pregnancy season.

I've been a mom (at the time of this recording) for nine years now. I had all four of my kids within five years and I rocked the stay-at-home mom thing for about seven years before I started my business from home and added that to the mix.

It's weird to give advice like I know what I'm doing. But recently I was talking with a mom friend who had just had her second baby earlier this year and she was describing the chaos, figuring things out that I had learned a long time ago. And as she was talking, it got me thinking that, like in Titus  in the Bible, that we moms that are a few steps ahead of other moms, we should lend a hand and help, especially in the season that you're in if you're in that little kid season.

Granted my kids are still really young. Bella's nine, but Emmett’s only three and as you guys probably know we are adopting, so I'll be out and in that season for a while in my life still. But as soon as your kids get a little older, things get busier in a different way and more difficult in a different way, but they're not chaotic in that same way as when you're in the thick of having little ones.

So, we moms who are a few steps ahead, we need to help out and lend a hand. And it doesn't make me a know it all or conceited or “holier than thou” that I'm offering this advice. I just want to lend a hand, lift you up and let you know I've been there. I've picked up a few tips and tricks that helped me in my journey and maybe they can help you too.

A lot of these things are super basic and obvious. If you're not in that season, if you maybe have one little one and you haven't had a second yet, maybe your season is just a little bit lighter or different than mine was, or maybe you just have it more together than I do and this is all really idiotic and of course you would do this and who would not do it that way - that's fine.

But I know that motherhood is chaotic, no matter which way you slice it. We could all use a helping hand from someone a few steps ahead of us. I know that there's somebody out there who is “in the thick of it” and so in the thick of it that she can't even hear her own self think and isn't thinking clearly. So, you come up with these little tips and tricks that might make the day-to-day life for her easier.

So, if you're a mom with little ones, here are a few things I figured out in the throes of tiny human-hood.

Let's first talk about running errands. I'd say that this is probably one of the biggest frustrations, it was one of the biggest frustrations for me and daily mom life. It still is pretty chaotic, but when the kids were super small, or I also had really small toddlers and a baby, just timing things with nap times, snack times, mealtimes, having to wear the baby while I had one toddler in the cart and the others next to me trying to run around, it was crazy. One kid is whining while another one has to go poop, the other is pooping in his diaper, there's another one crying for a snack and yet another is lost somewhere in the store because they think it's hilarious to hide in the clothes. And it's like Seinfeld status, “Serenity Now!” It's a lot.

So, here are some of my tips for running errands with lots of little kids. Bring lollipops or something long-lasting that you're okay with your kids having. For me it was lollipops. I didn't care how health conscious I was. It all went out the window during errands. When you have to get everything on your Target or Costco list and you've got a herd of tiny cave people to bring along with you, lollipops are Godsends. They last a long time. We always had a rule - don't bite them. My kids were not allowed to bite them. First of all, that's terrible for their teeth. Even more terrible than sucking on sugar. And second of all, I want them to last. So, I was like, “Okay guys, I'll give you a lollipop while we go in here and everyone has to stay where they're supposed to stay and you just can't bite it.”

And it just kept them busy. Afterwards maybe they had a little bit of a sugar rush, but I was done with my errands. So, who cares?

My next tip is be a crazy person about who stands where when you're running errands. I'm talking about when you're running errands with a cart. So, for me, Bella always walked right by my side and held onto the side of the cart. Leland walked on the left side and also held onto the cart and that was a rule. You have to hold onto the cart, one hand on the cart at all times and if my kids ever let go, I would be like, “Oh! Hold onto the cart!” Hudson would sit in the seat part of the cart and Emmett would be in the Ergo on me. I'd be wearing him.

And the rule was nobody moves from their assigned locations. You've got your lollipop. That's your treat. That's your reward for following the rules. Let's follow the rules then. And it just had to be that way or I wouldn't have gotten a thing done.

And the kids knew if they moved from where they're supposed to be, they would lose their sucker. Don't mess with the shopping cart locations, people. Right? That was my mantra.

Next tip is go fast, girl. I organized my shopping list before I left and that way I got my list in order of the store's layout. Once you get familiar with the stores where you live, you kind of know, “Okay, I know at my Target when I walk in the clothing and all of the non-essential stuff, like non-food stuff is to the left. If I need Q-tips and all that, that's straight ahead.” I would organize the list in order so that I wasn't grabbing bananas, then grabbing Q-tips, going all the way over to the clothing section getting some socks for the kids and then realizing that I still needed to go back and get cotton balls, which was right by the Q-tips where I already was. You just don't have space for that. When you got a bunch of littles you've got to get going. So, organize the list by my store's layout, at least close to it, by sections.

Even if you don't know the store’s layout, you could make your list like, okay, all toiletry items here, all personal clothing items, if you need socks or panties or whatever. If your kid needs to potty train, you need to get him underwear. All that kind of stuff goes in one section. Any food type items go in the other section. Organize it by layout and it makes it a breeze to just move down the aisle, grabbing what you need in each section and then reaching checkout before for the lollipops are gone. That's the goal.

It didn't always work out that way, but when I planned ahead and I was organized, it usually did.

Next tip for running errands is to go first thing in the morning. This is the time of day that you are not at your best self typically, but your kids are, and that's what really matters. For me it was 4:1 and it mattered more where they were at than where I was at.

So, I would grab an extra large cup of coffee and a water bottle and we would head out as early as I could get everyone dressed, fed and out of the house. I would end up running my errands when the stores opened, like in between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. The stores were quieter, less people and the kids were in great moods. They were excited to get out of the house.

This also kind of forced me (this is like a bonus perk) into getting myself dressed, and getting everyone dressed early and starting my day instead of lingering. Not really putting a bra on, having a third cup of coffee, just kind of lying low, maybe folding some laundry. It got me to go, go, go. It's time to run errands. And that was always a perk for me. Then I had energy and momentum and I'd have a really productive day.

My next tip for running errands with little ones is to save technology for the checkout line. My kids always would start to get antsy at the end of a shopping trip and I found that when I hold off on letting them watch videos on my phone until we're actually in the checkout line, it's a lot easier because unloading your cart full of stuff while you're wearing a baby is already hard enough. But knowing that the other three kids are happily crowded together at the front of the cart watching funny cat videos would allow me to quickly unload, check out and do what I needed to do quickly without much interruption.

Maybe I'd have to play referee a little bit and they'd start to bicker over “I can’t see the screen,” and I'd have to be like, “Hey guys, tilt the screen.” But that's a lot easier than like, “Oh my gosh, get over here!” Especially if this shopping trip was a little bit longer than normal, and the sugar had set in earlier that I wanted from their little lollipop treat. This helped a lot.

My last tip for running errands with little ones is park near the cart corral. I still do this, but when my kids were really little, it was super important. Leland would like hyper-focus and just walk right into an oncoming van. No problem. Hudson wanders. I need to be able to get everyone straight out of their car seats and into the cart and that really helped me. That's a really basic one. That was like a game changer.

Okay. Next series of tips for moms of littles: housework. First of all, clear the dishes, wipe the table and sweep underneath it after every single meal, no exceptions, just do it.

If the baby's fussing, just let him sit for a second and quickly get these things done. Make happy noises, pick him up, put him in a sling and just get it done. No matter what. If you just have a few anchor things like this where no matter what's going on, you clear the dishes (that means get them off the table or counter, rinse them, put them in the dishwasher) wipe the table down and sweep underneath it after every single meal and snack without exception, that's amazing.

Your baby might have to fuss for just a second, you might have to do it with one hand, or maybe you have a slightly older kid (4 or 5-year-old) that can make happy faces at the baby while you get it done. But if you have a couple of things that are non-negotiables, clear the dishes, wipe the table, sweep underneath it after every single meal and snack, no exceptions, this is going to keep the basic area of your house clean.

It's an area we use a lot where you're constantly making meals and constantly sitting down for a snack. You need that area to be clean and it's going to “domino effect” the way you handle the rest of your house. So that was something that I learned and it really helped me.

Next tip under housework is teach your kids to pick up after everything that they do. After a little while you might want to throw yourself in front of a bus because you've been repeating yourself so many times a day, but it'll be a habit for them and a lot less work for you. And unless you do throw yourself in front of a bus, it's a win, win. So, every single thing.

I still have to remind my kids sometimes but typically that's why the house is pretty much picked up all the time. It's pretty rare (I don’t know if you’ve ever had this happen), but I'll occasionally see my kids playing with something and then literally just set it down on the ground and walk away. And it's like, are you kidding me right now? But usually that's not what happens. 85% of the time my kids pick up after they do something because it’s just a habit. I instilled it in them at a young age so much that it's just how we live.

Kids are going to be kids and it's not going to be perfect. But teach your kids to pick up after everything they do. Be incredibly consistent about it. You don't have to yell. You don’t have to get upset, but it's hard not to when you're repeating yourself so much. But if you just say like, “Hey, what do we do after we play with Legos? What do we do after we make a puzzle?” Just encourage them to pick up. You might have to help them if your kids are really little, but however little they are, if they're little enough to play with something, they're little enough to pick it up and put it where it goes. So, teach your kids to pick up after everything they do. It's going to become a habit and that's going to help you so much as time goes on.

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Do you feel like you are barely getting through your days friend? Does motherhood feel more like a hurricane of chaos that you are just surviving rather than the awesome, joy-filled season that you want it to be?

Well, motherhood is hard. I am not going to lie to you about that. While it is servitude and giving to your family from yourself, it doesn’t have to be something that we are waiting to be over.  Something that we are counting down the minutes till naptime, or bedtime, or waiting for the next day to start. If you are wanting to sort through the clutter in your mind, your heart, your home calendar, your health, routines, and relationships, I created Unburdened just for you!

It is a guide that will help you go from drowning in the sea of stress and overwhelm, to owning your time and living the best version of your motherhood. So you can live abundantly while intentionally focusing on those who matter most.

Unburdened is the overwhelmed beginner’s guide to a simpler motherhood.

In Unburdened, I will walk you through how to stop over-complicating, procrastinating, and just start making positive changes now. How to declutter, just a little bit – not super deep into it, because you can’t handle that when you are this overwhelmed – but a surface declutter that will get you real results in your house so you can clean up less.

How to declutter toxic relationships in your life and set some good boundaries. How to simplify cleaning, get healthy and feel better – finally!

How to simplify your calendar. How to start owning your time and not just managing it as life happens to you.

How to stop just setting goals and letting them sit there. Start actually defining where you want to go and getting there through reverse engineering and goal-setting.

How to create a cleaning routine that works for you and your life.

This course is a mini-course. It is small. It is straightforward. But it is everything for the mom who feels like she needs a total overhaul, but is too overwhelmed to start.

It will help you simplify the things that have you stuck and leave survival mode behind for good.

Is this resonating with you? Sound like you? Does this sound like something that would really help you right now? Go to bit.ly/getunburdened.

I really poured my heart into this little course. I created it for the mom who is really wanting to simplify, declutter, and pursue a life of less, but she is so burdened and overwhelmed with the mess of life. It’s not just her house. She wants to simplify at the surface of all the different things in her life so she can focus on her family more. So then she can focus more on really, truly purging her entire house.

If this sounds like you, I encourage you to check it out. You are probably the person I created it for. I want you in there. I want it to help you.

Check it out.  bit.ly/getunburdened

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Next tip under housework. Start the day on a productive note, and it'll keep you going that way. So, like what I was saying about the days where I would get up and just get everyone dressed and go right out and run errands. Even if it wasn't an errands day, I would try to find a way to mimic that effect when I was at home.

Maybe right when you wake up, make your bed, start a load of laundry, feed the baby and have your coffee. I promise that you'll feel like you've got it all together. It really does only take a few extra minutes and it's not a big deal. Even if you're breastfeeding and you wake up and you pull your baby into bed with you and nurse and doze a little bit, and that's really the start of your day. That's okay. I just mean when you're getting up, start on a productive note. Go put the dryer on fluff mode and make your bed.

If you just make your bed, there's so many benefits to starting the day making your bed. Even if you have a kid who naps in your bed in the middle of the day and you're like this is going to get messed up in a few hours. It's not about having things be clean, it's about you gaining some productive momentum for your day.

So, when I learned that running errands first thing in the morning was giving me this energetic momentum and I was really productive on those days instead of lingering and hanging out at home, I wanted to find a way to mimic that when I didn't have errands to run and this is what made that happen. Getting up, making my bed or doing something like that. It just gives you that positive, productive momentum that you need for the rest of your day. Start your day by accomplishing something, even if it's small. It makes all the difference.

Okay, next tip. It takes 27 days to form a habit. So be intentional and form a good one. Choose one thing that you wish you had a habit of doing every day. You might have to spend a little time thinking about this. Maybe it's like we said, making your bed in the morning or running the dishwasher every night. Whatever you choose, make it something that's going to make your life a little bit easier. Write yourself a reminder or set an alarm on your phone. Make sure that your attention at one point every single day is on this task. Do it for 27 days and it will become a habit. A habit is something that you do by nature that you don't really have to think about.

So, let's have some examples. Let's say you decide that every single night you're going to run your dishwasher because it will make you load all the dishes and go to bed with a clean kitchen and in the morning that could be your productive task. So, let's say you decide every single night I'm going to clean the kitchen and run the dishwasher. Every single morning I'm going to make my bed, and then unload the dishwasher while I feed the kids breakfast. That's a great habit. That's actually like a series of habits. Awesome.

So, what you're going to do is find a way that you're going to see a reminder. Is it going to be an alarm that goes off on your phone? Is it going to be a note on your bathroom mirror? Is it going to be all the above? What is it going to be that’s going to remind yourself? Set that intention and make it happen every day for about a month and it will become a habit.

What a gift to yourself to pick somebody that's going to lighten your load and help your life be a little bit easier and you're intentionally making it a habit. This is kind of a life hack, but not really. It’s just simple to make new habits and change your life. It really doesn't have to be more complicated than that.

Okay, so the next tip is keep the kitchen sink clean and the house will feel clean. I got this idea from The Fly Lady back in the day when I was in the thick of having babies. When I keep the sink free of dishes and food, I normally end up treating the rest of the house the same way at least as much as I can with kids. You know with kids, it's naturally going to be a little messy, but clean as you go.

Keep your sink clear. Don't let the dishes pile up there and you will feel great about your house and be ready for company to come over. And that's a really good feeling too, especially when things are so busy with little kids.

Okay. So, let's go into the next part of this, which is tips on feeling good about what it is you're doing.

This is mainly directed at stay-at-home moms, but really any moms. I found there was a season of my life when my kids were really young where I felt unproductive and like I didn't matter. And I think that's common with moms, which is crazy because it matters so much. If you feel defeated all the time you're going to lose your drive to do what you need to do. And if you're like me, you might even start to struggle with depression a little bit.

So, I found that when I feel good about what I do every day, when I'm reminded of my purpose and I feel accomplished more days than not, then I do motherhood really well. How I feel affects everything. So, here's some tips on feeling good about what you do when you're in the thick of having little kids, as a mom.

Number one, make a list of only five things that need to get done each day. What this does is it keeps you from setting unrealistic expectations for your day and for yourself, and it keeps you focused on what really needs to get done rather than what would be nice to have done. So, your goal should be to tackle important tasks and feel accomplished at the end of the day, not make a giant to do list and feel defeated when bedtime rolls around, you've only crossed off one thing.

Having a longer list doesn't mean you'll get more done. It just means that's how much you'll feel that you failed, even if you actually did get stuff done that day.

My next tip is hit restart anytime of the day that you need to. Sometimes you just have a totally crap day and no matter what you do or how prepared you were the night before, things just don't go as planned. Your house is a mess and you feel like you haven't sat down all day. It just happens sometimes. You feel like you got dragged nine blocks by a semi and it's only 9:00 AM. We've all been there.

And so, when this happens to me, it's so helpful to pause, to mentally hit the reset button and give myself a fresh start to the day. It's kind of like that fresh day syndrome, like when you go to sleep and then we wake up, it's like fresh day syndrome. It's a fresh day so this day can be different than yesterday. We don't have to wait for the sun to set and rise again to get that.

Maybe it's your big cleaning day and you needed to tackle your chore list, but your baby woke up with a fever. Maybe you were going to work on a project after the kids went to bed, but your husband came home after a horrible day and really needs to sit and connect with you. Reevaluate. Move your priorities around. Hit a mental restart button. I've done this in the morning, in the afternoon, even at night. Sometimes you just need the day to start over right now. So, go ahead. You decide that. It's a mentality issue. Not a sunrise/sunset issue.

My next tip is get the kids dressed from head to toe. So, most days I get myself at least somewhat put together, but more so now than when my kids were little. Back then, my idea of being put together was a little bit of makeup, maybe some concealer and mascara just to make myself feel a little brightened up, a sports bra and workout clothes. And that was me getting put together. I feel good when I'm dressed. You feel icky when you're sweaty and braless all day.

But when I get my kids totally dressed it helps me feel really, really on it. So, after breakfast, which is usually around like 7:30 or 8:00 in our house, I'll have the older kids dress themselves and I'll get the younger two changed out of their pajamas. Then I have everyone brush their teeth and I do everyone's hair. When they're put together, I feel put together. It might just be me. But see if this helps you.

But it was a really simple thing that helped me out a ton. Even now, if we have a Pajama Day or something, it's fine. We're living life here. It's not supposed to be perfect all the time. But I do just feel like, I don't know, it just affects the rest of the day. It carries over into everything else and it almost makes me feel a little disoriented and lazy.

But if the kids are dressed from head to toe right after breakfast, it feels like I accomplished something. Again, seeing a pattern here? I feel put together. It's just a really simple thing that helped me a lot.

Okay. Another thing I want to tell you is smile at the stares. I used to think that I was a little paranoid, but now I know that people are actually very rude sometimes. They would stare, mouths gaping, at how many kids I have and how close they were in age. They would ask my age. What? Ask if I was their babysitter. Ask if they were all mine. They make rude comments on my lifestyle choices. I've had people make comments about “Well I guess it's fine to have a lot of kids if the government's paying for your food.” And I have never been on food stamps. I wasn't doing that. I was just trying to pick out some lemons.

People assume things, they're very rude. They're obsessed with what's going on with me while I walked through Target. And I really don't get it. But it's rude regardless, people say the rudest things. I've learned that just smiling back at the stares and having a kind response just puts an end to it. It usually lets them know that I really don't care, I'm good, I've got this and it's kind of like killing them with kindness.

Just smile if you've got a lot of kids in a row. I totally get it. There's so many fun benefits to having your family planned that way. People just think it's weird. They don't get it. And so just smile. Just smile. It's okay.

My next tip is let the little things go. This is a weakness of mine that I try to keep the big picture at the front of my mind. In the end, will it really matter that Hudson brought his juice in the living room and spilled it on the rug even though he knows the rule is keep it in the kitchen? I don't have to yell and freak out. I can administer consequences and be a parent, but I don't have to lose it. I can let the little things go. When all is said and done will it really matter that someone had a stomach flu explosion all over the new couch? Everything is fixable and none of that stuff really matters in the end. So, I try to take a deep breath and let it go and keep my perspective.

My last tip under this category of feeling good about what you do is schedule yourself some breathers. If I know that I'm going to get the little ones down for naps at the same time and I have Netflix ready at the same time for the older kids, then I can get lost in a novel for an hour in the middle of the day. That's pretty amazing. I'm going to feel so much better than if I caught up on chores, did cleaning and stuff during that time.

If I know that at the end of the week I've got date night or some me time scheduled out, then I really am more on top of things that week. I'm excited. I have something to look forward to. A light at the end of the tunnel.

Taking care of yourself is so important and it's got to be a non-negotiable for you. I always say that you can't give to your family if your well is empty and this is so true. 

Okay. Last section that we're going to talk about in this episode for Life Hacks for Moms of Littles is what about if you have somewhere to be in the morning, in the sense of having a lot of people to get ready? I don't know why, but most events for moms are so early in the morning.

Most moms’ groups start at 9:00 a.m. Are you serious? Like, why? It's so hard and it was so hard. Not really now because the kids can do a lot themselves, but it was so hard to get myself fully ready and four tiny children fed, dressed and presentable, and out of the door by 8:40, especially when they were small, but sometimes that's what I would have to do when I had somewhere that I needed to be.

There were a few things that helped me get out of the house without screaming at them or canceling the event altogether. That's a win in my book and I'm going to go over them with you. So, tips for when you have somewhere to be in the morning and you've got little kids.

First of all, pack everything the night before. It's annoying. It's going to require some planning and effort at the end of a long day. But just do it. It's so worth it. When I would pack for the next morning, the night before, I never regretted it. I would get diapers and pull-ups (or spare undies depending on what was going on with my kids' ages), baby wipes, peanut butter & jellies made (if I know we're going to be out during lunchtime), snacks, sippy cups filled, apples sliced, shoes by the door, and supplies like the park blanket, lawn chairs, whatever, in the car. This would shave like 45 minutes off of a chaotic morning because everything, for some reason, takes longer in the morning. I think it's because you've got so much else to do.

So, if you just take all the stuff. I would ask myself, “What can I do tonight that doesn't have to wait till tomorrow morning? Laying out everybody's outfits. Laying out my own outfit. Showering so I'm not doing that in the morning. Everything I could get done the night before, I would just summon the extra energy as hard as it was and get it done the night before so that in the morning it was less chaotic.

That leads me to my next point, which is I lay out everyone's outfits, including mine the night before. It’s another morning saver. There've been so many mornings when I'm rushing around looking for something to wear that ends up being dirty, or I wasn't able to find someone's other shoe. I save my time and my sanity and yelling. I spare my kids from mean mommy coming out when I have everything prepared the night before.

Next tip for this is pack some snacks for you. I used to always forget about myself. I’d have plenty of snacks for the kids and then 11:00 AM would roll around and I'd be leading Bible study or mom's group and need to stop to run an errand before we headed home, and I would be famished and not feeling well because I didn't frigging eat. So that's a huge one. Pack some snacks for yourself.

Don't forget to bring a giant bottle of water. Take care of yourself. It's so funny how we have to be reminded that, but I know someone listening to this is like, “Oh my gosh, me too!”

So, I know this stuff might be super obvious to some of you, but I also know that when I was overwhelmed with three kids under 3 and then I threw in another one and four kids under 5, I wasn't thinking too clearly. I wish I would've come across an episode like this. So, I hope this helps someone out.


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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

 

Ep 062: My Battle with Emotional Eating + Food Addiction

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Emotional eating and food addiction are just like any other addictions. But the biggest difference is that food is placed in front of us multiple times a day, because our body needs food as fuel. I admit I struggled with emotional eating, emotional bingeing and food addiction. I used food to fill a gap in my heart and in my life. I idolized food and it started to run my life. But now i can confidently tell you that I am winning this battle with emotional eating and food addiction. Everybody has struggles. This is mine. And if this is yours, I’m right there with you. So, let’s talk about it because if we don’t we feel alone and feel like we can’t conquer this thing but I know we can!

 
 

In This Episode, Allie Discusses:

  • What emotional eating is and how it differs from food addiction.

  • How emotional eating is like any other addiction, only it is something placed in front of you multiple times a day (food is everywhere and your body needs it).

  • What she does to win the battle over her emotional eating and food addiction (and how you can too!)

  • The power of adjusting your relationship with food as something that is needed to fuel your body, not an obsession.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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The Simplified Grocery Shopping List is something I have created (for free!) that will help you simplify the process of grocery shopping, planning your meals, food prepping, all that good stuff because we do have to eat so often during the day and it can be really complicated. So, if you're looking to make some healthy changes and simplify this area of your life, kind of take a minimalist approach to all of that, I've got you! 


who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is                   The Purpose Show.

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Hey friends! Today I want to talk about something that's kind of heavy, definitely raw and vulnerable and might be difficult to hear.

I think a few months ago it would've been difficult to share too, but today it's not. I'm ready. I feel peaceful. I even feel excited to let you in on this part of my life. I'm really hopeful that it'll help somebody out there listening.

But before I dive in, I want to let you know that we're going to be talking about emotional eating, emotional bingeing and food addiction.

This has been a struggle for me pretty much my entire adult life. I think this can be a really sensitive topic and I want you to know that I do not mean to point the finger at anyone or make you feel awful about yourself. If your health or your weight has been something that you've struggled with in your life, please know that this isn't directed at you.

I want you to know that this episode is just me sitting at my desk in front of my microphone sharing and opening up about a very private struggle in my life, something that has been a part of most of my life and has totally ruled me at many different points in my life.

This episode is about me and my struggle and I want you to know as the listener that you can do whatever you choose to do with this episode. You could take it to heart and make changes if that's where you feel led, if that's what you want to do after listening. You could turn it off right now and not listen to the rest of it. You could listen and do nothing because you don't struggle with this area of your life or you do struggle with it and you're not there yet. You're not ready to change.

My hope for this episode is that it would bring a light and shine it on this problem area that not a lot of people are talking about in our world and that it would uplift somebody. I don't want it to bring anyone down. I want it to be really open and honest and I want it to be a help to somebody.

A few months ago, I was doing a live stream in one of my Facebook groups and this topic came up. I casually shared a little bit about my history with emotional eating and food addiction and the response was so overwhelming. Even now, I get messages and emails from the women who happen to catch that live on a regular basis asking if I would ever consider opening up more, doing an episode about it, or a blog post, or even write a book or something.

I honestly had never really thought about it. I think I was so caught up in the battle, of actively fighting this battle in my life that I didn't really think about, “Oh, this is something that I'm dealing with. This is something that I could share about.”

But now I can confidently tell you that I'm winning this battle with emotional eating and food addiction. And I'm happy to open up and share now that I have a little bit of hindsight. It’s still very present. It's kind of like yelling. It's still something that I struggle with and I will probably always struggle with, but I know who I am, where I stand, and I know what I should and shouldn't do. I've got a good grip on this. So much has been done in my life in this area that I'm ready to share.

And so, I just want you to know what my intent is with this episode. I know that things like anorexia, bulimia, a negative body image and all those things are very, very real things. I just want to be really clear that my intent is simply to open up, kind of peel the curtain back on my own life. This episode is about me and my struggle.

So, let's first start with going over, what is emotional eating and what does it look like when it's lived out? I've read in the past that emotional eating is unavoidable, that it's just something that we do no matter what. And I would have to very strongly disagree that it's unavoidable.

I think that we absolutely have the choice of what we put into our bodies. I think that's a very hopeless statement. I remember reading that at a difficult time in my life when I was struggling with this, and feeling like I used it as an excuse, like, “See, even science says that it's unavoidable, so it's okay,” and it's not okay.

I was using food to fill a gap in my heart and in my life. I was basically idolizing food and it started to run my life. I would have a hard day or we would be going through something. This was  really prominent in the time of me and Brian's life when we were really broke. (If you haven't listened to Episode 6, you can get that story there.) Things were just really hard. It was a constant struggle and food was kind of my sanctuary. It was an escape.

Junk food is cheap. Having sugar and having junk food releases hormones and chemicals in you and it gives you a reaction. It is addictive. It gives you a high. And I was actively seeking out food - fast food, junk food like Oreos, candy, sweet, salty - all different types of food that was not good for me and was binge eating it.  

For a long time, it was pretty much every night. I'd go through little bouts where I would stop and then I'd come back to it. Maybe I'd stop for a few days, maybe a few weeks, maybe even a couple months. And then I would come back to it. It was an addiction and it absolutely had a hold on my life.

This is something that is embarrassing to me. It's embarrassing to admit that I binge ate food, when my closest friends are fit, skinny, health-minded and they've never struggled with this. I always felt like the only one. But I know I'm not.

And so, if you're listening to my voice right now and you struggle with this, please know that I wish with everything that I have right now that I could just hold onto your hand and look at you and tell you that you shouldn't be embarrassed.

Everybody has struggles. And this is ours and I'm right there with you.

So, going back to the source of the problem, it was using foods that taste good and are terrible for me, to cope with what I was feeling emotionally. That's kind of like the definition of emotional eating. That's what it looked like for me - actively seeking it out and going and getting junk to act like a salve to myself because I was feeling emotions that were difficult or not positive and fixing it “with food.”

What I have struggled with goes beyond a little bit of stress-eating. It was full on “pigging out” to avoid dealing with something that felt too big for me.

Side note: I have a really good metabolism. From what I can tell, it's great. I did emotional eating for most of my adult life and didn't really start to gain a lot of weight until after I got married, especially after I had kids. But for how badly I was eating and how much I was eating, I feel like I should have been much heavier. And because I wasn't, it was easy to just keep going.

I am not one of those people that has a slice of pizza and then you can see it on me the next day. Actually, my husband is like that and it really sucks and I feel so bad for him. He works so hard and he eats really well and he just has the hardest time losing weight. He has had tests done, doesn't have any thyroid issues or anything like that, but it's just his metabolism. It's just the way his body is. I don't have that, so it takes a lot for me to gain weight.

Having said that, I gained over 50 pounds at one point very quickly purely because I chose to be inactive, and I ate my emotions on a daily basis. I would wake up in the morning and decide today I'm done. Today I'm going to “be good.”

And then that night after dinner I'd be hungry. I didn’t want to make a mess in the kitchen again. The day was hard, there were stresses. I didn't want tomorrow to come because my life was so difficult at one point that I would just cave and get food.

I would actively seek out going and getting food. Brian would enable that and go and get it for me. We kind of just tag-teamed this unhealthiness. It was so, so bad and even as I'm saying it I'm embarrassed, but that's the reality and that's what addiction looks like. And we need to stop pretending that it doesn't exist, or that none of us have any of that.

Maybe you don't, but not everybody is like you and some of us have actual addictions. I want to address food addiction because it is one of the only, if not the only addiction where your vice is placed in front of you multiple times a day. You have to eat multiple times a day. There's no getting around it.

It's not like with alcohol that you have to drink alcohol multiple times a day and you just have to control how much you drink of it. It's not like with heroin that you have to get a certain amount of heroin every day to live a healthy life and you just have an addiction and you have to watch how much of it you take in.

Even with things like pornography, it's just not that way. Yes, temptation is there, it can be addictive and it's there all the time, but food is really the only addiction where you have to take in what you're addicted to on a regular basis and just control how much and what kind you put into your body.

And that is what makes it so incredibly addictive and difficult to overcome. And I think that's also what makes it not a big deal in our culture. Nobody really is talking about this.

I used food to avoid my problems for a long time. Specifically, when things got really hard. When we were in Arkansas, we had moved away from all of our friends and family. (Again, reference Episode 6 if you don't know this part of our story. It's very powerful and very real. And this kind of ties in with that.)

We were super broke. I didn't know why God had moved us out to Arkansas. I was angry with Him and was giving Him the silent treatment. Things were just really difficult. We had no friends and family. It was so hard. This is when I gained 50 pounds. Things just got so hard that at a lot of points there really was no solution. It was just a waiting game to see what the heck we were supposed to do.

Especially at night it got very difficult. It was just so much easier to eat than to deal with things and come up with solutions. The brain has a reward system that hard wires us to want to engage in behaviors that we find pleasurable, like eating tasty foods. So, when we eat junk foods, the reward circuits within our brains activate and release the chemical dopamine. Our brains can become overwhelmed by the pleasure from these rewarding foods. In response, the brain adapts and makes more receptors for dopamine. I hope this is making sense.

What this means is that a greater amount of junk food is needed to get the same kick, making us eat more and more, in the same way that an addict develops a tolerance to drugs and has to continue to increase the amount of drugs they're taking. So, our brains are hardwired to seek out and want rewarding foods making us crave and desire sweet and fatty foods.

I had to realize that I had a problem and as embarrassing as it was to admit what that problem was, that was my reality and it was owning me. Food had become this idol in my life. I started to plan my day around it. Everywhere I went, food was at the front of my mind.

I remember this one time I had to go to the mall to get something. I don't know what it was. I walked into the mall and I was in the Food Court. Just the sights and smells of the Food Court overwhelmed my senses. I had been trying to again “be good and be healthy” and I wasn't dealing with the heart issue.

It wasn't a self-control issue. I had an addiction that I was sweeping under the rug. You can't just decide to be healthy. You have to deal with the heart and the root problem which is addiction and addiction is serious.

I remember walking into that Food Court and just being so overwhelmed with all the smells. I started to act like an addict, the addict that I was. I got really hyped up and excited. “Oh my gosh, what can I eat? What am I going to eat for lunch? Okay. It's 11. I’m definitely going to be here at lunchtime, what am I going to eat?” And I started planning out my food, being obsessive about how I was to get to eat something really bad and really good.

And again, this is embarrassing for me to share. I don't like to sound like a cow, you know? I don't like to sound obsessed and food driven like that. It's unfeminine. It's embarrassing. It's humbling. But this is the reality and this is addiction.

Listen to the way that I'm talking about this. Listen to the way I'm talking about how I felt and how I reacted. That's addiction. That's what addicts act like. Just because it's food, it doesn't mean that I'm dramatic, “Stop calling yourself an addict, Allie. It's not what it is.” Yes, it is!

It's just that my addiction is something “normal.” It's not heroin. You know, it's not pot. It’s not sex. It's this thing that is normal every day that I have to deal with, and put in my body every day and I'm having a hard time. Everywhere I went food was at the front of my mind.

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Well, motherhood is hard. I am not going to lie to you about that. While it is servitude and giving to your family from yourself, it doesn’t have to be something that we are waiting to be over.  Something that we are counting down the minutes till naptime, or bedtime, or waiting for the next day to start. If you are wanting to sort through the clutter in your mind, your heart, your home calendar, your health, routines, and relationships, I created Unburdened just for you!

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In Unburdened, I will walk you through how to stop over-complicating, procrastinating, and just start making positive changes now. How to declutter, just a little bit – not super deep into it, because you can’t handle that when you are this overwhelmed – but a surface declutter that will get you real results in your house so you can clean up less.

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I really poured my heart into this little course. I created it for the mom who is really wanting to simplify, declutter, and pursue a life of less, but she is so burdened and overwhelmed with the mess of life. It’s not just her house. She wants to simplify at the surface of all the different things in her life so she can focus on her family more. So then she can focus more on really, truly purging her entire house.

If this sounds like you, I encourage you to check it out. You are probably the person I created it for. I want you in there. I want it to help you.

Check it out.  bit.ly/getunburdened

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So that gives you a really good idea of where I was at, what was going through my brain, what I mean by saying food addiction and emotional bingeing. That's where I was and that's where I stayed for years.

I bounced back and forth between doing good and stopping my habits, eating really healthy, not eating late at night, and then I would come right back to it. I flip-flopped between these habits. It made me just stay the same size and so no one really noticed that I had a problem.

It wasn't until in Arkansas when we moved away that I really gained a ton of weight because I just took it to a whole new level. I didn't have any of my family and friends around me, so nobody really knew. It was just really bad.

There is a photo. I have one photo of myself during this time and it's so hard for me to look at. I have one pair of jeans. I actually gave them to my mom because she is a sewer and she uses denim. She hasn't used the jeans yet, so sometimes when I'm over there I'll go into her sewing room and pull out those jeans and just hold them up and want to cry.

Not because, “Oh my God, I was so huge and I just looked so terrible!” But because I made my body alter its state so dramatically because I was addicted and I was seeking out food instead of Jesus and it was so hard. So, that's kind of where I was. That's the truth of this struggle and what food addiction looked like for me.

I want to talk about the process of coming out of this and how I'm winning this battle. I'm not getting into all the history because I don't want this episode to be five hours long, but there's little things from me growing up and to being a teenager, to being a young adult, to being married, and being broke and married, and then having kids, that all ties into how I got there. But that doesn't really matter. What matters is the struggle, the battle, the realization and how I got over that.

I had to take a hard look at my relationship with food and put it in its place. It's to be enjoyed. You can't look at the foods that God gave us and tell me that He didn't intend for food to be enjoyed, but it's supposed to fuel your body and not be an obsession. Anything that's taken like the way I took food is an idol, and it's not supposed to be that way.

And so, kind of summarizing this, basically we were going to move back. The business had started. The business had taken off. We were going to buy a camper and start traveling the country and come back to California to see our friends and family after being away for two years. And I panicked because I knew I was bigger. I knew no one had seen me and I didn't want to go back like that.

And so, I started to look into what are the ways that I could drop this healthfully but quickly. And I knew because I had gained so much weight that it would probably come off pretty quickly because, you know, typically if you're a pretty overweight for your normal self and you make like immediate dramatic changes, you'll drop the weight pretty quickly in the beginning.

And so, I started to research. Whole30 was becoming a really big thing at this time, but I hadn't done it yet. I looked up the Whole30. If you aren't familiar with it, it was created by Melissa Hartwig, co-created by her. Basically, it’s a way of eating where you're really just eating clean, whole foods. Vegetables. Meats that are not processed, meats that are organic, free-range and grass-fed finished. Really high quality good foods.

Thankfully at this time we were newly able to afford to eat this way. Brian and I did Whole30 together. I actually did it twice in a row and the weight just fell off. This is not about looking good, being thin and losing weight. That was my original intent and I'm just being honest with you about that.

The main drive for me, making this change in my life, was my appearance. My skin was awful. It was so broken out. I had gained over 50 pounds. I was multiple sizes bigger than I was when I left California. And here I was about to go back. I'm a blogger. Taking photos was a part of my job. I was embarrassed.

As you know the camera already adds weight, it really does. I still have goals and I have work that I'd like to do. I would like to continue to get healthy and hopefully, you know, smaller and fitter. But even now I will get photos done and I'm like, “That's not what I look like.” Just your posture or the angle, it’s so many different things. The last thing I needed was to truly be much bigger than I normally was. I just didn't feel good.

So, my original intent was definitely appearance-driven. I was just so embarrassed to go back that way, so I did the Whole30. I did it twice in a row, but I think we headed back from Arkansas about halfway through my second round, so it was like the Whole 60, I guess.

About halfway through my second round I felt much better. I had lost almost all the weight. It went very quickly. I was definitely working out too. We came back and nobody noticed anything. In fact, the first time that I saw everybody, my mom and then I saw my best friend, and every time I saw somebody new when we got back they commented that I looked really great and that felt really good.

But in the process of doing Whole30 twice in between leaving Arkansas and coming back to California, something had happened. My heart had shifted.

I went into this with the intent to look better and not let people know my embarrassing secret - that I was addicted to food and I had gone way off the deep end with that. Totally idolized it and let it take over my life. That I had gained so much weight. Let my skin get like that. Let my body get like that. That I just looked so different. I felt awful, you guys. I just felt so awful about myself.

And so that was the original intent. But through the process of this, my heart changed and the Lord really used Whole30 to get ahold of me.

The Whole30 is the opposite of how I was eating. It's clean vegetables, fruits, no sweetener of any kind, not even honey. It's basically created to help you revamp your relationship with food and realize if there's anything bothering you. Getting everything out so you can see, “Wow! Not having gluten, I feel so much better. I think I might have a gluten sensitivity.” It's kind of like almost an elimination diet of sorts. It's really clean and really wholesome and really good for you.

It was really hard coming off of eating Taco Bell every night and Oreos and “Hey, I really want some hot tamales. Let's go get some.” And binge eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.

Coming from that to Whole30 is really difficult. But I'm competitive. I cared about how I looked and I was determined to change.

As I went into this process, I started to have withdrawals. I remember many nights screaming and crying into my pillow because I wanted sugar and my body was aching. I was having a headache. I had fevers and chills. This is how bad I had let my food addiction get. This is how I was reacting from not eating the way I normally was. I would cry because I was embarrassed in front of my own self, in front of Brian, in front of God, that I was so addicted that this is my reaction to eating healthy, eating the way that He designed us to eat.

What happened in those couple of months was I realized that I had idolized food so much and Whole30 became an act of worship. It became me laying this idol down and giving it to the Lord and realizing that it was my everything. That I wasn't going and thinking through my problems, brainstorming, being a proactive person and coming up with new ideas. “How can we fix this? Okay, how can we make this better for ourselves?” I was just avoiding all of my problems and going to food.

I wasn't praying. I wasn't reading my Bible. I wasn't reading books. I am such a big reader. I had just gone all in with food.

Whole30 really taught me to lay that down and to give that up. It taught me how to be a person without being obsessive about my next meal, without going somewhere because of the food that's there like the mall situation that I told you guys about.

Now I do Whole30 every once in a while. I'm actually doing it right now. I'm in my last week and it is such an act of worship for me. Whole30 is kind of how I eat all the time now. This last round that I'm doing right now that I'm finishing up, I really decided you know what? I'm just gonna eat this way.

I'm not going to be crazy and not have honey. I like turmeric milk in the evenings and there's a little bit of honey in that and turmeric milk is incredibly beneficial for you. It really helps my skin and my gut. I need to put a little teaspoon of honey in there to make it drinkable, so I'm not going to do things like that.

But in general, I want to live on a clean, whole diet like Whole30 and Paleo because this is keeping my addiction in check. I needed to realize that I have an addiction, that I have a problem, that I can't mess around with food. I can't be like everybody else and just eat whatever and be okay. That if I'm choosing to go ahead and have a slice of pizza at a graduation party, I'm mentally having to work through like, “Okay, I'm going to have one slice and that's it because I can't handle having any more.” Or I don’t have any at all.  

Recently we did go to a graduation party (that’s where that example came from) and there was pizza from a restaurant that is new in our area that I have heard everybody that I know just raving about it. I had been dying to try this pizza. There was also cake and soda and beer. Those are all my favorite things basically. And I was doing the Whole30 and that night was so difficult for me, even now after overcoming this.

This is just the way that I am. I know it'll get easier as time goes on. As you know, a lot of people who overcome addiction say that. But this is the reality and I can't feel stupid about that and ignore it and shove it under the rug like it's not a problem because no one talks about that and I'm just being dramatic. This is me. This is where I've been and this is my struggle.

And so, I have to just be different. I love food. I enjoy food so much. Cheeseburgers are my favorite thing. I enjoy the things that I love in moderation. I try to eat Whole30 about 90 percent of the time. I'll have a little bit of honey. When I'm making dinners and stuff I always get Whole30 recipes, and for my lunches and my breakfast and stuff. When I'm at home I'm eating Whole30 all the time because my body just does so well eating that way.

There will be times where I will do an actual real Whole30 with no honey, no turmeric milk, no sweeteners of any kind and I will really do Whole30 again as a reminder of who I serve, as an act of worship, as a reminder to myself that “You're strong. You can do this.” And just kind of keeping myself in check in that way. And I really enjoy it.

So, I had just finished up another round of Whole30 and I was going to do it again, but I had a week in between where I was eating normal, just eating really clean and healthy, but you know, I'd have honey, be normal.

It was Sunday after church and we went to this place called Burger Lounge where I can get a Paleo Burger. It’s no cheese, no sauces. It's layered over Zucchini. It's really healthy and really good. But I was just in such a mood for a regular cheeseburger. That is my favorite food, hands down. I got a giant regular cheeseburger on a gluten-free bun because I didn't want it to bother my stomach. Sometimes a lot of gluten will bother my stomach.

It was a great quality, grass-fed burger with cheese and sauce and I devoured that thing and it was awesome. But it wasn't an obsession where my addiction was flaring up and I was like obsessive. Like, “I gotta get the cheeseburger. I'm going to leave at 10:30 PM and go and drive and get a cheeseburger because I just can't deal with these emotions. I can't go to sleep until I get that rush of dopamine.” It wasn't like that. It was just a girl who loves cheeseburgers, enjoying a nice big cheeseburger and that was it. I was satisfied. I was happy. I didn't have a soda with it or anything. I just enjoyed my lemon water with it and I was good. I didn't have fries or anything. I just enjoyed my burger and that was it.

It's about balance and practicing healthfulness, mindfulness, and self-control. I would encourage you to also go back and listen to my episode with Robin Long on this show because I love the way she talks about this. It's about balance. It’s not about punishing yourself or never having anything again. It's about balance and knowing yourself. Knowing when you can have a little bit and when you can't handle that.

Whole30 really taught me that. It really taught me to take care of my body as an act of worship and as an act of self-care. Laying down my flesh and my obsession and just saying, “This is hard, this is real, this is my struggle. This is really hard, but I don't have to live this way and this isn't going to own me. I'm going to take control back and at the same time give control over to God and have him help me through this addiction problem.”

I hope that's helpful. I know I didn't go over so many details of this is exactly what I did and exactly what I do now, but I just wanted to open up the door to this dark part of my life. Be honest and say this is something that I've struggled with. It's been really humbling and really difficult and this is what I learned and what I did to get control of it.

Now my life is very different. I'm actively getting healthier, losing weight. I'm learning to love to exercise. Because I eat so clean all the time, exercise is much easier for me. I think that was a big problem. I can handle little bits of gluten and dairy, but I don't do well when I am eating either of those things all the time. And so, when I'm eating Whole30 and I'm eating this way and I'm barely having anything like that my body functions way better and running is so much easier.

I think the problem was I never liked exercising because it was so difficult for me because I was eating so terribly. I felt like there was always a brick in my stomach and I just couldn't perform. And now I love to go for walks and runs. I love Pilates and Yoga. I do Pilates every single day. Yoga occasionally. I'll give you guys the link to where I do Pilates. It's at home, it's online. It's awesome. Robin is amazing. She's an incredible teacher. I'll give you guys that link.

I love kickboxing. I do that in my garage because we have a garage gym now. I'm active. I'm happy. I'm getting healthier and in turn getting smaller and fitter and noticing things like my strong arms. I’m loving my body better even though it has its imperfections and I wished it would go faster. I wish it was already smaller. I don't focus on those things anymore.

I love myself. I take care of myself and every time I'm going to make a meal, I think to myself, this is an act of worship. I used to be so different than this. I'm treating my body well because I have a job to do and I cannot live my purpose, take care of my kids, run my business, show up for you guys, show up in my marriage, be happy and healthy, go to speaking engagements, do all of these podcast interviews, if I don't feel good. That's a big deal to me.

So, that's my journey. That's what I have learned in this area of my life. That's how I used to be and where things are kind of at now. Oh my gosh, you guys. I hope that this was just a huge encouragement to somebody out there and if that's you, please, please let me know. I would love to hear from you.

Okay. There is a freebie for you guys that goes with this episode. It's the Simplified Grocery and Meal Planning pdf. It's a fan favorite. It's been floating around on the Internet for a few months. People really like it and it's something that will help you simplify the process of grocery shopping, planning your meals, food prepping, all that good stuff because we do have to eat so often during the day and it can be really complicated. So, if you're looking to make some healthy changes and simplify this area of your life, kind of take a minimalist approach to all of that, go get it. It's totally free. You can find it at alliecasazza.com/shownotes/062.


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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

 

Ep 061: 10 Ways Minimalism Helps the Super Busy Family

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Motherhood is a lot of things, but boring is not one of them. As my kids get older, we get into schooling, and realize the activities that interest them, I find that my life just gets fuller and fuller. I really enjoy having a full schedule. Other than the occasional need for a week off, I truly thrive when my calendar is full and my days are packed with a life lived on purpose. There’s a big difference in being too busy and in simply having a full life. Embrace where you’re at and if you find yourself overwhelmed, find ways to simplify wherever you can.

Minimalism is one way to do this. It kept me afloat and simplified my to do list in a very chaotic, uncontrollable time of my life when babies dictated everything, all the way down to how much sleep I got. No matter how many kids you have and what season of motherhood you’re in, minimalism lifts a huge burden you may not even know you’ve been carrying. It’s such a gift and is especially helpful for the family with a full calendar.

 
 

In This Episode, Allie Discusses:

  • How minimalism lifts the burdens you may not know you are carrying and makes your life less stressful.

  • The ways minimalism alleviates time spent cleaning and prepares your home to always be ready to have people over.

  • The benefits of minimalism for your kids. They will enjoy experiences over things more and aren’t overstimulated by all the clutter.

  • When you have less, decision making is easier, you know where everything is, and you can say yes to more of what you want to do.  

Mentioned in this Episode:

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If you want to get started or if you want a reboot in your journey, maybe you've lost your way a little bit, go get the Minimalism Starter Kit. It's a fan favorite download. It's totally free. It's chock full of good stuff. And it is totally free! 

 


who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


Don't have time to listen_.png

Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is                   The Purpose Show.

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Hi, beautiful! Thank you for listening to my show today! I'm really glad that you're here.

I'm super stoked about this episode. It's something that I love talking about. We're going to dive in to 10 ways minimalism helps the super busy family.

Motherhood is many, many things, but boring is definitely not one of them. The older my kids get, I realize that life gets busier in a different way. When they were super little and I was in the toddler/having babies phase of life, it was physically busy and I was really exhausted from that, and also emotionally drained just from dealing with them. The meltdowns, freakouts, tantrums and all that. Now it's busy in a new way, which I think is super fun. The kids are older. They've got different interests. They've got homeschool groups to go to, activities, horse lessons, and all these things. I find that my life has just gotten fuller and fuller and busy in a new way.

I really enjoy having a full schedule. I'm definitely an introvert. I definitely get my energy from being by myself. I love being home a lot, but I don't like doing nothing. I will usually schedule a “nothing” day, maybe once a week, maybe less, depending on what I need, but other than that I really enjoy being a busy person. I really thrive, and so does Brian, when our calendar is full and our days are packed with a life lived on purpose. That's our sweet spot. That's how we like to be.

In fact, if we have a day or two where we've been home, maybe there's a ton of work to get done and we decide the kids are gonna just do some school, do some reading and have a couple of “techy” days while we catch up on work, or it feels like we're just home a lot, we will find ourselves snapping at each other and needing to get out of the house. We'll take a walk or go to the park or something like that. Just to get out of the house. Any excuse, because we just like to be out and busy and going to different things.

I think as your kids get older and you have kids that are interested in sports, activities, extra classes and things like that, your schedule will get really full fast. Unless this goes against your core values for your family for some reason, I think this is a good thing.

Kids are so much fun and motherhood is something to be celebrated in every season. I think there's a big difference between being too busy and using your busyness as sort of a badge of honor, and just saying “yes” to everything because you've put your identity in being super busy and just being a “yes” man of sorts. There’s a big difference between that kind of busyness and simply just having a really full life.

So, I've learned to embrace where I'm at. If I find myself overwhelmed, I find ways to simplify wherever I can.

Maybe it's just taking a break every now and then. I just came off of a few weeks off from the business completely. I just got kind of burned out and I needed a break from that. I got burned out in that part of my life. I took a break.

Also, minimalism is another way to do this, to simplify your life so that you can enjoy the fullness of it, but not the bad kind of busy where you just feel like you can't even catch your breath and you don't even have time to do what matters most to you.

So, I started my journey to minimalism when I was in that baby-having phase of my motherhood. I was a stay at home mom. I spent lots of time at home. I didn't have a lot else going on. I had three kids under three at the time. And my babies were all-consuming in my life. That's the season that I was in. Minimalism helped me in a different way than it does now. It kept me afloat and simplified my to-do list during a very chaotic, very uncontrollable time of my life when my babies dictated everything all the way down to how much sleep I got and how much time I had to put food in my mouth.

Now my baby is three and we've got baseball, horseback riding lessons, a business to run, meetings and media interviews every week, photoshoots and videos to make on a regular basis. Minimalism helps me in the same amount that it did back then, but just in a different way. It possibly even helps me more now.

The more I evolve as a mother, my life shifts, and we head into new seasons, the more grateful I become that I am a minimalist and that I am actively practicing that lifestyle. I think no matter how many kids you have or what season of motherhood you're in, minimalism lifts a huge burden you may not even know you've been carrying until it's off of you.

It is such a gift, truly. That's why I've dedicated my life to talking about it and I think it's especially helpful for the family that has a really full calendar. So, let's talk about exactly how minimalism helps that kind of family.

I think first of all, you spend a lot less time cleaning…like a lot less time. Typically, I spend about 30 minutes a day maintaining my house. I'm not a neat freak. I'm actually kind of a naturally disorganized person, but I do like my house to be clean. It will bother me if it's not picked up, you know what I mean? I don't care if the banister has some hand smudges on it. I won't freak out and run over like Monica Geller and start rubbing it. But I do enjoy living in a clean space.

I like having my house ready for company to drop by. I enjoy living in a clean space that feels put together. It makes me feel accomplished and that's just the way that I am. And even so it takes me 30 minutes a day to maintain my house.

We have one day a week that we'll clean as a family for a couple hours. Usually on Saturday mornings, sometimes not, because we've been going to the farmer's market. It’s kind of shifted to be like a Friday afternoon thing, but whatever day it is, usually like 1-2 hours deep cleaning as a family. It's been a little bit less now because I recently hired a housekeeper to help me out with that and help us foster more family time. It’s really low maintenance. We have six people living in a three-bedroom house. I think that's really low maintenance. I'm really happy about that and I know it's just because we don't have a ton of stuff taking up our space and requiring us to put it back again and again.

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When you buy something, you buy it with your time. With minutes from your life. Not just with your money. Studies show us that less clutter equals less stress and more time. It is really as simple as that.

This was the founding reason that I created Your Uncluttered Home. It has become my most popular, globally-praised, decluttering course that I designed for moms who want to live their lives more than they want to clean up after it.

It is truly the A-Z of minimalism. Every room. Every area. Every nook and cranny of your house totally uncluttered. This super extensive, extremely detailed course is literally everything you need to become a minimalist momma who is able to be a lot more present for what matters most.

To learn more about the course, go to alliecasazza.com/allcourses.

This really is the short-cut version. The exact journey that I took as a mom, 5-6 years ago now, that got me to this point of an uncluttered, minimalistic motherhood where I am spending the least amount of time on my house every day.

Motherhood is just way too sweet a time to be spent struggling so hard and living in survival mode day in and day out. Our stuff is really the cause of that.

If you want to start this lifestyle, if you want to simplify your life… I believe that it all starts at home. Simplify your life.

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Number two is your house is almost always ready for people to come over. So, when another mom from the soccer team stops by to drop off your son's forgotten knee pads, you can invite her inside without throwing a bunch of mess in the closet.

When your church asks for volunteers to host Bible study, you can raise your hand and be confident that it won't be a panic screaming match between you and no one else who cares, as you clean up all the things the night before, every single week.

I am such a hospitable person. I am the first to offer to host things. I actually get a little panicked within myself when I'm in a situation where somebody else is the host. I love being the one to host.

We have a whole other set of cups, mugs and dishes just for hosting things like Bible Studies and parties because we love hosting things. I love feeling confident that if I have the wrong time and everybody shows up an hour early, sure, everything will be perfect, but I'm not going to be freaking out because the house is a disaster and I haven't even had a chance to get ready yet because everything is just more minimal and simpler.

Number three, you have more time to actually enjoy the season of your family. You can be present. Imagine that. Actually being able to be all there and enjoy your family right now in the season they're in. Not something that you're hoping to get done one day, but right now. You're actually there and able to enjoy it. Even if you're in the thick of having babies and it's a really overwhelming season of motherhood, you're still able to enjoy and be there and that's a really great feeling. Enough said about that one. That one just says it all.

Number four, your life is just a lot less stressful. Managing a family meal plan, running errands, you know, playing chauffeur if your kids go to school, is a full-time job on its own. These things will stress you out a whole lot less if you don't also have a house full of junk that you are constantly picking up. Trust me.

Number five, your kids are not overstimulated. So scientific studies done all over the world have shown us over and over again that kids do not function well when they have a lot of options surrounding them. A cluttered room to come home to after a long day of school full of toys and junk they don't even use, is just not good for them. It's just not. Add in screen time and long school days, and no wonder they're in terrible moods a lot of the time, right?

If you simplify their space, you’re going to see such a huge difference. They're going to be in better moods and they're going to start enjoying their days a lot more and you will too. This is one of the biggest benefits I've noticed in my kids versus other kids. It's such a lifesaver.

Number six, your life is centered around relationships, not stuff. I don't even think I need to explain that one. It's huge. Your life is centered around relationships, not stuff. What a great way to live and what a great example to set for our kids, right?

Number seven, when you want to say “yes” to something, you usually can. So, what I mean by this is when you're not bogged down by a ton of home maintenance time, you're a lot freer to be involved in the things you want to be involved in. You can say “yes” to things more if you want to. You can volunteer more. You can spend more time with your kids. You can help your community more. You can start that blog you've been wanting to start. You get the picture. You're able to just take on more. And this is a huge way that minimalism benefits the super busy family.

If you're super busy, it's probably because you like living that way, at least a little bit, maybe not too much busyness, but you like having a full life and you like being able to help and serve. This is huge.

I'm really protective of my time. I have a lot of rhythms and routines and I live a really minimal existence. It’s not because I'm selfish and I don't want people taking up my time and I just want to be with my family. It’s because I want to be able to say “yes” to the things that matter. I want to be able to serve at my church. I want to be able to serve in my community. I want to be able to go with my kids to the homeless shelter and show them this is service. This is what we're here to do, to help other people. We're able to do all of those things because we don't have so much home maintenance. It's huge, you guys. This is a major benefit.

Number eight. Minimalism teaches your kids to enjoy experiences over things and that is huge when you've got a full life. I think we all want our kids to grow up knowing the value of living a good life of experiences versus things, but none of us wishes our kids, would grow up materialistic, right? But yet a lot of the time we’re accidentally putting them there.

Minimalism draws all attention to relationships, experiences, family, and spending time actually living life. That is so helpful when that's what you're doing - living Life. Going to baseball games, packing up for baseball practice, taking your daughter to soccer. You're living life and you're not focused on, “Oh my gosh, there's so much to pick up when we get home. There's so much to do.” It's just simpler and that leads me to my next point.

Number nine, you know where everything is. Now, this isn’t perfect, but I will say it is a 100% better than it used to be for me. When you live out minimalism, there's a lot less time spent looking for things. Every mom knows how annoying it is to desperately need to find your daughter's other cleat and be 15 minutes late to practice because it was wrapped up in a blanket behind the sofa, right?

Less stuff means less mess, less chaos, less clutter, and more owning your space and what’s in it. Simple as that.

And lastly, number 10. Minimalism helps a super busy family because there’s less decision fatigue. Decision fatigue is a real thing and it sucks. All the little decisions like what to wear, when should I clean the bathroom? All of those little things like, “Mom, can I have cereal? Hey, can I wear these shoes today? All of those little decisions that we make minute-by-minute. They’re made a lot less overwhelming when there's simply less stuff.

A smaller wardrobe means less choices. You weren't wearing 80 percent of it, chances are anyway. These little tweaks like that in your home really add up to a totally different life. And I mean, trust me, I've seen this difference in my own life every single day. I see it in my business. In other women. This is just how it is.

Less is less fatigue. It's less of all the bad stuff and more of all the good stuff. And what a sweet life to live, right? I think that's the goal.

So, this has been 10 ways minimalism helps the very busy, on-the-go family. And I hope that this was really inspiring for you guys.

If you want to get started or if you want a reboot in your journey, maybe you've lost your way a little bit, go get the Minimalism Starter Kit. It's a fan favorite download. It's totally free. It's chock full of good stuff. It's totally free on the show notes page, allicasazza.com/shownotes/061.


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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

 

EP 060: Prayer + Soul Care as a Busy Mom with Valerie Woerner

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As moms, it is easy to make excuses when it comes to taking care of our soul. However, when we have little kids or are in a super busy season, that's the time that we honestly need it the most. We are constantly pouring out and don’t realize that we need poured into. And the more we make excuses now, the harder it is going to be to get back to taking care of our souls. Val Woerner is the owner of ValMarie Paper, where she creates journals and tools that are really help “cut through the noise” of everyday life and find fullness of life in the presence of the Lord. Even if you're busy, even if you're a mom of little ones, no matter your season. And I want to encourage you by telling you that whatever you have to give now is more than enough.

 
 

In This Episode, Allie + Val Discuss:

  • Why you should put effort into your relationship with God, especially in the busy season of raising little ones.

  • Ways you can get quiet, connect with the Lord, and take care of your soul in your everyday life.

  • The importance of avoiding excuses when it comes to taking care of your soul.

  • What the word “renew” means and what the Bible says about it, so that you can fight everyday anxieties and battles.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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Want more inspiration than just the podcast? Do you wish there were more episodes? Want more details? Do you want videos? Do you want pdf’s? Do you want to download things and get your hands on something to really get you started when it comes to minimalism and simplifying your motherhood?

 

The Supermom Vault is a library of inspiration I created for you. It holds replays of my very best online workshops that aren’t available anywhere else, tons of really actionable pdf’s that are downloadable with just one click, more than 20 audio and video trainings from me, and professionally designed printables for your home to keep you focused and inspired.


who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


Don't have time to listen_.png

Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is                   The Purpose Show.

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Hey beauties! Today I am introducing you to someone who's become an Instagram friend, not just somebody that I follow and who follows me. Valerie Woerner, she is a beautiful soul. She really is. The more I follow her, the more I get to know her, the more we pass messages back and forth every now and again, the more I come to just love and admire her so much. She is just such a godly woman. I'm really inspired by her.

Val is the owner of ValMarie paper. ValMarie paper creates journals and tools that are really beautifully created to be practical tools that help you “cut through the noise” as Valerie puts it so beautifully, of everyday life and find fullness of life in the presence of the Lord. Even if you're busy, even if you're a mom of little ones, no matter your season.

She very pointedly speaks about that and speaks about how sometimes we moms, specifically, can use the busyness of our season and the out-of-our-control chaos that comes with having little ones, pregnancies and things like that, as sort of an excuse to skip out on the important stuff like prayer, journaling, reflection and that quiet soul care that we so desperately need. And she also speaks pointedly about how this is actually a time where we really need to be more on guard and diving more deeply into those types of soul care things.

So, I'm really excited to let you in on this chat with Val. I would encourage you as always to listen with an open mind and open heart and prayerfully consider taking action in some way on this in your life.

And so, without further ado, let's dive in.

ALLIE: Hi Val, and thank you so much for joining us today.

VALERIE: Yeah, and thanks for having me. I'm excited to chat.

ALLIE: Yeah. Okay. So, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family and your story.

VALERIE: I'm Valerie Woerner and I live in south Louisiana with my husband, Tyler. We have been married seven years. We were actually best friends for a few years beforehand and I swear I told God “I'm not marrying him. If I marry him, I'm going to be so upset.” But anyway, long story short, I fell for him. God knew better than I did. Crazy. We have two little girls, Vivi & Vana. They are 4 & 2. Just lots of fun and I run a business called ValMarie paper. We sell prayer journals and a couple other things. I have also written a book, but I’m working on another now on motherhood coming out next year.

ALLIE: Good. Yeah. Okay. So one thing that I love about you and really the reason that I wanted to have you on was because you speak very graciously but also pointedly about how mothers sometimes can use just the busyness of our season of raising kids, especially pregnancy, babies and not sleeping as much in this “in the thick of it” season as, I mean honestly, I think this word will upset some people, but as sort of an excuse to skip the important stuff, like the journaling, prayer, reflection, the soul care that we need. So, tell us about that, how you feel about that and how we can stop doing that.

VALERIE: Yes, I think it's crazy because it is easy to become an excuse whenever we have little kids, but that's the time that we honestly need it the most because we are being poured out so much that we have to be poured into. I believe that’s through Jesus and I know you do too. That's where our strength is going to come from.

So, one thing that I think a lot about for prayer is that as we start to drift from our prayer time with Him, it becomes easier and easier to silence His call whenever it is time to pray. But whenever we just feel prompted to pray, it just becomes easier to shut that out and just feel like we have responsibilities, we have things to do.

So, I think for me, I just want to encourage moms that not only do you need it right now, that's why we don't want to make an excuse, but also the more we make it an excuse, the harder it's going to be to get back. We're not just gonna jump back when they go to school, suddenly have this deep relationship with God and be like, “Okay God, I'm back and let's just get back to it.”

It's going to take a lot of work to get back. And I always say it's not that God has moved away from us, but it's more like we've walked away. I don't know if that makes sense, but I definitely feel like we need Him now more than ever in this season. And I would never want a mom to feel like it is a good enough excuse to say “no” to God for the sake of our kids.

ALLIE: Yeah, for sure. I'm out of that season as of now. Probably going to fling myself back into it later this year, but I think it's just a lot. You're not intentionally like, “Oh, I'll just wait and when the kids go to school, I'll be better at it.” It's like a subconscious, almost feels like it has to happen that way, but it's sad because then we're teaching our little ones…they're not seeing us do that. They're not seeing us have that time. They're not hearing us pray out loud. It's just not a part of it.

And I think that is one lie of the enemy for sure that kind of sneakily gets us out of that flow and away from closeness with the Lord when we need it most.

But I love that you say that. I love that you say we need it the most during that time because it is a crazy time for sure.

Okay. I think the main thing about that time of little ones especially, and I think it can go, it can transfer over. Now I'm busy, more busy, but it's a different and better kind of busy. It's not like “chaos busy” with the kids. They're just older and there's baseball and homeschooling and horse lessons, more on the go, I guess, and I do fine with that. Rather than out of your control, the kids are going crazy, you're pregnant and sick. That's a different type of busyness, but I think in that season it can feel like it's just total chaos.

It's happening minute-by-minute and the kids are too little to really be expected to play quietly to give yourself space and pregnancy, you can't always get up super early. So, in the thick of it, how do you get quiet and connect with the Lord and take care of your soul in that?

VALERIE:  Yes. Okay. So, this has been so on my heart. I know we know this. I know we know that it's not about our quiet time. That we can experience God throughout our days, but my big goal lately has been to just live with a deep consciousness of God. So as I go through my days, I'm seeing Him everywhere. I'm seeing things to be grateful for. His presence is changing my actions and I think in that respect, I think it's almost, I don't want to say easier to do, because it's not easier to do with the little kids, but how full our house is shouldn't be changed by that.

And that should be encouraging. That's not to be discouraging to mom's like, “Hey, you should have it together,” but more that our goal is not like we have to have this hour-long thing in the morning. I still recommend, I mean I want to do that because I want that deep time with Him, but if we're going through a short season where all we have is throughout the day, that is enough.

Whatever we have to give to God is enough. I wrote about this in a journal that's going to be coming out with the book, but I can't even think of the story, but whenever the widow gives two coins, just knowing that whatever you have to give, if you're giving that to God, that's all He wants.

If you only have 15 minutes and that's what you're giving, you should not feel bad about that. There's people who have three hours in the morning and they give Him 15 minutes. And God probably wants more for that person. But I think knowing if you truly, truly do not have this extended time, whatever you have to give is going to be enough.

But like I said, I really think it's like an all-day, just living in His presence and learning how to do that has been so rewarding. Even more than what I've learned in the last few years about prayer, learning how to live with Him every day the last six months has changed me so much and very unexpectedly.

ALLIE: Yeah, I love that. I think I totally agree. About, I don't know, maybe 2-3 years ago, I wrote a blog post about what you're saying. It was a realization for me and that's where it was born out of, that you don't have to have that “set aside” quiet time. I'm sitting on the couch with a hot cup of coffee and a journal and candles and all this stuff. I have that now. Now my season has changed.

But I remember trying to force that when I was in the baby-having season and I realized that God doesn't want that perfect time. Of course, if you can get it, take it. Sometimes you just can't in that space. I think realizing that you can talk to him while you're doing the dishes, while you're driving, and also praying out loud, letting my kids hear that. At first they're like, “Mom, what are you doing?”

But just letting them see that mom has a relationship with the living God and I'm talking to Him because I'm a little stressed today. Or I feel like I yelled too much today and I'm sorry and we're going to work it out. Being really raw with them. It was so huge. And just that realization that it doesn't have to be perfect and pretty and Instagram- worthy. It's just real. And just like you would with a friend or your husband, just talking it out as you go.

Then when they get a little older and they can kind of play, my youngest is 3 ½ so I can say, “Go be busy, go play outside” and I can get an hour in the morning or in the afternoon if I want. And it's beautiful because I didn't have it before. But you can't just ditch it altogether.

VALERIE: Right. And also, just knowing when that season ends and not letting it stay longer than it has to be. Finding the grace but not wallowing in it also.

ALLIE: Right. And would you say that that kind of is where it becomes an excuse?

VALERIE: Yeah, yeah.

ALLIE:  Okay. So, through your company, ValMarie paper, which I love. I don't know if you guys remember, if you've been around a while, but on Instagram a while ago, maybe last year, I shared your journals. Brian still uses the men's. It's really neat too. And I've always heard this about journaling and I'm a big journaler but I don't go back and look. Ever. And it's been really neat to really go back and look at what was happening and how big our prayers felt at that time and how now it's like, “Oh yeah, I forgot that God even did that.” We're not worried about that anymore. It's neat.

So, you create, and I love the way you word this “practical tools that equip women to cut through the noise of everyday life and find fullness of life in the presence of the Lord.”

So, tell us what that looks like day-to-day, what kinds of journals you create, what does it look like to use them and how do you help women do that?

VALERIE: Yeah. Our main product is our six-month and our yearly now. We have a six-month journal that's broken down into the months. So, you fill it out once at the beginning of the month, which is perfect for anybody in a busy season because sometimes it's hard to commit to writing things every day. But you write it down once at the beginning of the month and then you just carry it with you and you can pray. I pray normally like one or two sections a day. I never pray the whole thing. It's never the goal to go through all the sections in a day.

But the goal is just that you can do it while you're doing dishes. I have mine on my passenger seat anytime I'm in the car. In our bathtub we can hang it up in the little spigots and pray while I'm taking my nightly Epsom salt bath.

All of the things that we do, even our free pdfs and different things like that, are designed to take these spiritual ideas that people can say like, “Okay, that sounds really good. Now how do I put that into my life?” And because our world is so noisy, we make it a little bit more accessible for people so that they're not having to, I don't know, get stuck somewhere. “Here, this is the format, go for it.” We pray that this is a tool that people will be able to use and really make their own. The stories that we hear…it's crazy how people are using it and what they're getting out of it.

ALLIE: Yeah, for sure. I love that. I was already following you and then I noticed that you did this anxiety, “challenge/study” and it was really amazing as somebody who does struggles with anxiety. My whole family actually. I really believe that this is a generational thing. I really think that that happens more often than people realize. All the women in my family just struggle with it. So, I really loved what you did there.

I know we're not really talking about that, but you spoke to your experience with anxiety and how you combat that with prayer. I just admire you for that so much. And I know other women listening struggle with that.

VALERIE: Oh Gosh. Yes. Okay. So, I always say I was a worried, little child when I was young, so my mom actually prayed with me a lot. And that's where I learned how to pray. She just instilled that in me. But as I got older, I was writing my first book, had just finished writing, and I have heard people talk about it a lot, whenever you're writing a book there's a lot of spiritual warfare. I wrote in there about a season where I had a lot of anxiety in high school and started feeling like something was wrong with my heart. And I woke up in the middle of the night, during the editing process of the book, and I thought I was dying.

Tyler was next to me and I said, “Go get Vivi, I need to say goodbye to her.” We called an ambulance. My mom lived down the street. She came over to stay with Vivi. She prayed. She came in the door and she prayed with me. And by the time the ambulance was standing in our doorway, my heart had stopped beating (that way). I thought for sure the only way my heart was going to stop beating the way it was, was for it to stop.

The ambulance came in. It was actually somebody I knew, a friend of a friend, and she was like, “I think that was a panic attack.” And I was like, “There's no way that was a panic attack. It was so real.” I googled everything about it. I can be a judgmental person, telling people to buck up and everything like that, but experiencing that…

I finally shared it on Instagram and the people who responded and were just like, “I've been in the hospital for that” or “I've had a panic attack.” I had no idea how prevalent that was.

The Renew Challenge that we did was me looking up the word “mind” in the Bible and just knowing that I had to figure out how to control my mind, because it will take us places we don't want to go. And even yesterday my daughter flipped out at the pool because there were wasps. And I'm having this spiritual conversation of, “Vivi, you have to get these thoughts out of your mind. The devil wants you to focus on the wasp.” I said, “Don't think about the wasp. Think about me.” Taking our thoughts captive and not only taking them captive, but then filling them up with truth is the answer.

And so, the 14-day challenge is basically 14 days of just pounding that message in to where you really start to change your thoughts.

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely.

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Hey friend! It’s Allie! Have you heard of the Supermom Vault yet?

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Check it out!  alliecasazza.com/courses-1.

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ALLIE: Okay. So that's amazing. And I went through it and it was amazing. So, I know then it was email-based and you're doing something new with it now. So, is that going to be still available or how can people get into that?

VALERIE: Um, yeah, we actually have it on our website about ValMariepaper.com, but it's going to be our Renew Ebook. We've had people say that they've gone through it and they wanted to go back to it. And I've even wanted to go back to it but not wanted to go back through all the emails. So, I think we'll have both options just so if you want to take it slow, you can do that, and get the constant reminder for two weeks.

ALLIE: Yeah. I just loved the way you had it set up. It was so powerful. Just looking, like you said, at the word “mind” in the Bible. There's so much out there about how powerful the mind is and I think people, especially in the Christian sphere, shy away from that because it seems “new age” and really a lot of it, not all of it, but a lot of it is biblical, right?

He is The Creator and He spoke the universe into existence. We're made in His image. He gave us a working mind, working bodies. We have a lot of power. The things we speak and think, they do something to us. And so yeah, I think it's really powerful to kind of stop being the victim and taking ownership of the power of our minds and getting the enemy out of there. He doesn't belong there. And taking that back for ourselves. So that's what I got out of what you said. And I loved it. So yeah, I just had to bring that up.

VALERIE: And it's crazy. It's empowering. I know I've already mentioned it once when we talk about not being a victim, that is empowering stuff. It is not to make us feel like we can't have a pity party. That's my whole book. We don't want to have a pity party. We think we do, but we don't. We want to live these full abundant lives.

ALLIE: Yeah, for sure. That translates to everything. Everything. Even just the other night I was having a conversation with a friend and we were both kind of just griping about “how good junk food is” and “it's so hard to make good choices.” I just snapped out of it and was like, “we have a choice.” We're so blessed. We have a choice with what we can eat. That’s a luxury that so many people don't even have. And really? We want to whine and complain about how junk food is so good and health food sucks. How it sucks to have stay thin. No. Let's choose abundant life here and fuel our bodies, love ourselves well and take care of our temples. Just switching that dialogue I think is so huge.

Like you said, the world is so noisy and it's negative noise, mostly. It's easy to get swept up in every area. Anxiety, prayer, motherhood, marriage, health, work, everything. It's just easy to get swept up in the negative.  

VALERIE: Yeah, and if we start exercising that muscle that “I can control this thought” it's going to get easier. We’re not going to be combating it every day like it's this huge thing. It’s just going to be easier.

ALLIE: Yeah, for sure. It's like a muscle that you flex and exercise and it gets stronger and easier. I love that. And that's hope, because in the beginning this can be hard to figure out how to navigate this. Having a spiritual relationship with the Lord in the middle of the chaos of motherhood, that’s not easy. I mean it can be later, but yeah, it's hard to start. It's hard to remember. There's so much going on. There’s so much pulling for our attention and I think if we can just remember, “this is the priority, though. This is where I need to live.”

I always say this and I just want to say it again, for anyone who hasn't heard me say it. When you're staying in the presence of God and you're spending time with Him every day, all day, He will remind you of things and help you focus on the right things.

There is so much pulling for your attention, so much on your to do this. And He will be your guide when you're just sitting with Him all day. You know, I've found that to be helpful. I'm more productive. I'm more energetic. I’m more loving and patient when I'm there.

And that's what really matters. Not getting everything done on my list.

Do you have anything else that you want to say about this? That I'm forgetting to ask you? That you're passionate about with this for these women?

VALERIE: I think we have to just keep reminding ourselves that prayer is actually productive. As silly as it sounds. I know my friend, Michelle Meyer says that a lot. We want to not feel like we always have to be productive but at the same time just know that prayer is really productive.

This month I do Powersheets and I'm pretty sure you know about them. Instead of the “five daily things;” I’ve not been doing well at those. So, instead of putting the actual things that I want to do, “pray about what I eat, pray about my sleep, don't hit snooze,” now it’s “pray about sleep.” And this month I'm seeing a huge difference.

I don't want to say I'm not actively doing anything but I'm starting with the prayer and that's going to change my actions. But it's also going to just change my heart because I'm giving it to God. I was thinking about this today, just remembering that once we pray about something, there is so much victory before we even know the answer because we know we have asked God for something that we want and if He has heard us and if He doesn't deliver, it's not because He's trying to keep things from us. It’s because He has something better.

That makes me want to pray about everything. I want to pray about every single thing so that I know this has all been covered in prayer. Whatever God does now is going to be His best plan, and not like I'm leaving things on the table of missing out on blessings that He could have because I didn't ask.

We have to know how to ask with a heart that's aligned with Him, and that is through knowing the Word. I just feel like that's something that if we could remember that as we're trying to muster up this desire to pray, I think that's helpful to know and will help motivate us.

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely. I love that. Okay. So, I'm going to link to everything in show notes that you mentioned. Your website and all that, but where can our listeners find more of you? Like what social media platform are you most active on?

VALIERE: I love Instagram. Val Woerner is my handle. Then we have our business, ValMarie paper. It's more focused on sharing hacks to use the journal and different tips that other people are doing. We blog. But if you go to our Instagram you'll find everything there.

And I wanted to ask you a question. So, what do you feel like is the thing that you pray for the most? And this is not like a big like personal, but just whether it's God's peace, God's blessing or something like that?

ALLIE: Yeah. That's a really good question. I can think of a handful of things but I’d say maybe the thing I pray for most is wisdom in responding to things. I feel like that's a really big part of my job and something that I've always felt like I'm too blunt. I feel like it's a gift but also kind of a curse sometimes. I can say what I think and what needs to be said, what needs to be heard, but I want to do it in love. In my marriage, to my kids. I have one daughter and she's just very sensitive. It’s not a natural thing for me to respond in a nice way. With the boys it's like “Ah, whatever, just go do this.” And with her it's like “I'm really hurt that you didn't say…” She just is so sensitive.

And in my job, the messages that I get can be unkind, or really heavy, and I don’t know what to say. So, just that wisdom, “Do I even need to respond to this? “If I do, how can I be your light in this?” It's hard and I often will send an apology and a corrective answer because I'm human. So, I think almost daily, like just wisdom and responding to different situations.

VALERIE: That's awesome. My mom was probably similar to you. I don't want to say she wasn't compassionate. But she was compared to the other parent's spectrum, we were like, “Why won't you let us stay home if we have a cough?” We have to be throwing up or bleeding to stay home.

But I so appreciate how our mom (I'm saying this for me and my twin sister) parented us. She turned out two amazing daughters and an amazing son. So, there's that.

ALLIE: It's just my personality and also having all the boys, they will walk all over me. It’s hard to translate and switch over to my daughter. It’s something that I think the Lord is just using to stretch me.

VALERIE: And stretch her too, so that's good.

ALLIE: Yeah, for sure. So, thank you so much. This was such a good interview. I'm so excited to share this! And thank you again for your time. I really appreciate it.

VALERIE: Of course! I'm so appreciative to be on!

ALLIE: Okay guys, we'll link to everything in show notes and I will talk to you guys next time.


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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

 

Ep 059: Coffee + Questions with Allie

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Welcome to this month’s Coffee & Questions segment here on The Purpose Show! The Coffee & Questions segment is a time when I sit down with 2-4 questions from you. You guys ask questions in many different places – email, Instagram Messages, Instagram Comments, Facebook, all of that. I have my team help me pull a few select questions and I answer them once a month. This is a time where I always physically have a cup of coffee with me because it feels super fun. It feels like I am sitting down with my friends, having coffee, and just…chatting. That’s what I want my show to feel like, especially this segment. If you asked a question, this is a time where I may answer it. So, sit down, cozy up, get a cup of coffee, and let’s chat!

 
 

In This Episode, Allie Discusses:

  • Ways you can overcome social anxiety and get out of your comfort zone.

  • How she food preps for her family.

  • Her book collection and how she decides what to keep or get rid of, as well as what she prefers in digital versus hard copy.

  • Tips for shopping and maintaining a minimal lifestyle (especially at Target!).

Mentioned in this Episode:

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Motherhood is hard. I am not going to lie to you about that. While it is servitude and giving to your family from yourself, it doesn’t have to be something that we are waiting to be over. Something that we are counting down the minutes till naptime, or bedtime, or waiting for the next day to start. If you are wanting to sort through the clutter in your mind, your heart, your home calendar, your health, routines, and relationships, I created Unburdened just for you!

It is a guide that will help you go from drowning in the sea of stress and overwhelm, to owning your time and living the best version of your motherhood. So you can live abundantly while intentionally focusing on those who matter most.


who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Hi beautiful friend! Welcome to this month’s Coffee & Questions segment here on The Purpose Show! The Coffee & Questions segment is a time when I sit down with 2-4 questions from you. You guys ask questions in many different places – email, Instagram Messages, Instagram Comments, Facebook, all of that. I have my team help me pull a few select questions and I answer them once a month. This is a time where I always physically have a cup of coffee with me because it feels super fun. It feels like I am sitting down with my friends, having coffee, and just…chatting. That’s what I want my show to feel like, especially this segment. If you asked a question, this is a time where I may answer it. So, sit down, cozy up, get a cup of coffee, and let’s chat!

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Question #1:  Allie, I would love for you to address social anxiety and getting out of your comfort zone to visit with other moms. I come from a background of moms who have lots of kids, 4+, and so far I only have one, so I feel like I don't have as much in common or as much to offer to the conversations with the other moms in my area. It's something that I'm working on, just getting myself to open up, but talking is one thing that does not come naturally to me. #introvertmama. Any recommendations?

Okay. Super love this question, mainly because I totally get it and oh my gosh, I wish that I had some way that I could show you all how I used to be. It's not really that there was anything wrong with it or with me, it's just that I was so different and friendships were more difficult for me. Social gatherings were really hard for me. I'm very much an introvert.

I've talked about that a lot before. I'm so introvert, but a lot of the time when I share that about myself, people are really surprised. I think it's just because I've come on such a journey with myself in that regard and not let being an introvert hold me back from having connections, relationships and being social. Also, what I do for a living is pretty anti-introvert. It's a lot of extravert-ing. A lot of sharing myself, being vulnerable and talking.

And whenever I come across a podcast listener or a blog reader or somebody in my audience in person, I never want to seem weird or standoffish, you know? I'm just introverting, but I don't want to seem like I don't care or I don't know, I don't want to give off the wrong vibe.

So, it's been really important to me to learn how to be an introvert and take care of myself, but also step outside of my comfort zone, be friendly and have those connections.

When we moved away, we moved out of state a few years ago and we didn't know anybody. That was really hard for me because it forced me totally out of my comfort zone in so many ways, especially socially. I had to speak up and talk and share. Even though I used to be more of a listener.

So, what I would say to you, whoever asked this question and anyone else who was so glad that she asked it because this is you too, is get out there. I know it's probably not what you want to hear and it's not rocket science or anything new, but get out there and go. Then once you get there, join a mom’s group, join anything, something. Once you join, when you're there you don't have to come up with the conversations, but join in.

So, what I mean by that is when we moved to Arkansas and I had joined the new mom’s group at a church that we thought we were going to end up joining. We weren't really sure. We had gone one week. They had a mom’s group. It seemed great. I just wanted to throw myself in and find connections because I was really struggling with loneliness and getting a little depressive. It just was not a good time. I didn't have anybody.

I went to the mom's group. I forced myself to go. I got the kids all dressed. I showed up and being super awkward and introverted, but I'm there. I'm doing it. And when the conversation started I just jumped in as soon as I could. So, when I got there I was really friendly. I think there's something about pulling it out of yourself and stepping outside of yourself. I was just really friendly.

I said “Hi.” I introduced myself, my kids and really stepped outside of my normal personality. So, it wasn't like I was quiet and awkward and then I sit down and somebody says something and starts a conversation, and I'm like, “Yeah, me too!” and all of a sudden I'm talking because that's even more awkward. I really pulled it out of myself and I thought a lot about the fact that I wanted to make connections, that I wanted people to know my heart. My heart is very people based; it's just that I'm not much of a talker (which it’s just hilarious as I speak into my podcast microphone.) But in social situations like that, I used to really not be much of a talker, but I pulled it out of myself.

And then when the kids were with the childcare sitter and we were sitting at the mom's group together, just us moms, and somebody would share something that I had something that I could say, I would openly share. I would rush right past that nervous feeling of, “Oh my gosh, I'm about to talk. What if I talk over somebody? What if it's awkward?” And I would just jump in and say “Yes, me too! I totally understand that. Last week this happened to me and I handled it this way” or whatever it is, but I put in my two cents.

I had a rule with myself where every other thing that somebody brought up I would share about. So, it's not like I was taking over the conversation and putting in my two cents on every single thing that anybody said. But every other, every two things that were brought up as a topic of conversation. I wouldn't sit them all out and I wouldn't join in them all. Does that make sense?

If you've ever been in a formal mom's group or Bible study setting, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Usually whoever's leading has some discussion points that they're going through or Bible study guided questions that they're asking, and I wouldn't let myself sit out every single question. I wouldn't let myself go more than one without chiming in. That helped me to have a rule of thumb.

But I also think it's important to remember that introvert is not synonymous with shy. Introverts just get their energy, they get restored by being on their own. Extroverts get their energy by being around other people. Studies show that both extroverts and introverts benefit highly from having a lot of friends, from being social, from having a week full of social things. It's really good for us to be around other people. We are created to be social beings. So, let's not confuse introvert and shyness. I hope that helps whoever asked that question.

Question #2: I would love more info on how and what you do for food prep. We keep it pretty simple, but I feel like I'm probably missing out on the easy foods to prep and then reheat.

Okay. So, first of all, I have a free pdf that I've created. It's all about simplifying your grocery shopping, planning your meals and prepping your meals. It's something that people really, really like. It's one of my most popular downloads. I will link that for you in the show notes, which you can find at alliecasazza.com/shownotes/59. It's totally free and it's really helpful. I broke this down within that pdf.

So, I'm like you, whoever asked this question. It is mostly pretty simple. It's mostly meats, produce and cheese, but also a couple of “side” things. One of my favorite things to have prepped is grilled-up potatoes, like those baby red potatoes. I really like those and they're good for you. And it's a good filler, especially because we eat really clean. Sometimes only vegetables, or only vegetables and a little bit of meat is not quite filling for me. Sometimes it is.

This might be TMI, but I don’t know if you guys are like this, but I have one week every month right before my cycle starts where I am starving to death, I'm insatiable. I just need a lot more nutrients. I need more food on my plate and I'm just starving. And so, I'll definitely have potatoes with every dinner that week because I'm so hungry. (I'm sorry Daniel, my male podcast editor, that I talked about my cycle.)

So, I love to have baby red potatoes. I slice them up and quarter them and then just saute those up with some olive oil or maybe some grass-fed butter and some herbs. Then, I put them in Tupperware and I store them away and they can just be reheated. You could do the microwave if you want to, but I try not to use my microwave. I usually heat them up in a pan. Sometimes I won't, I'll be honest, because I don't want the extra dish, but it does still save me time because potatoes take a long time to cook. And I'm not re-cooking them; I'm just heating them up real quick on a pan, if that makes sense.

So, I like to have things like that. Definitely sliced cheeses is great. I don't really do this anymore but I used to make my own yogurt and I would have that made and stored in the fridge. Definitely chicken. I like to buy a flank steak at the natural market by my house and have Brian grill that up and season it really lightly and then slice it up. Steak is one of the few things that I'll actually eat cold. I think it's really good cold. Other than that I'm really weird about my food being hot and fresh. So, just like basic meats, potatoes.

If you guys follow me on Instagram, you've probably seen how I always am sharing when I get home from grocery shopping, I don't just put the groceries in the fridge, I will wash and slice the berries, prep everything to where it's ready to grab and go. It's less about being super creative and having all these foods that you're preparing, and more about you're going to have to do these two or three steps to eat the food, why not just do it right after you buy it from the grocery store versus getting it from the grocery store, putting it away and then having to prep the food before you eat it?

I get into that “batching mode” of, “I'm prepping my food, I bought it and I'm prepping it to eat” and now throughout the week I can just grab it and go. The berries are already washed and sliced. It's easy for the kids to grab. Things like that.

I've shared this before too, but I also am kind of weird with my food feeling like it's all “reheats.” I definitely like to cook dinner and eat it right away, but there are some foods that I'm not weird about that I'll totally eat reheated.

It’s just a preference of mine. You guys might want to get into the food prep zone and do way more than I'm doing. I'm just finicky about it. I'm a little high maintenance with my food.

So, that's what I usually prep. Chicken, flank steak, potatoes, fruits and vegetables. And then I'll have some cheeses and stuff for the kids. Kind of a grab and go status. So that's what we do. It's really simple. I wish it was fancier and more like, “Wow, Allie’s amazing and super smart,” but that's what I do.


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Do you feel like you are barely getting through your days friend? Does motherhood feel more like a hurricane of chaos that you are just surviving rather than the awesome, joy-filled season that you want it to be?

Well, motherhood is hard. I am not going to lie to you about that. While it is servitude and giving to your family from yourself, it doesn’t have to be something that we are waiting to be over. Something that we are counting down the minutes till naptime, or bedtime, or waiting for the next day to start. If you are wanting to sort through the clutter in your mind, your heart, your home calendar, your health, routines, and relationships, I created Unburdened just for you!

It is a guide that will help you go from drowning in the sea of stress and overwhelm, to owning your time and living the best version of your motherhood. So you can live abundantly while intentionally focusing on those who matter most.

Unburdened is the overwhelmed beginner’s guide to a simpler motherhood.

In Unburdened, I will walk you through how to stop over-complicating, procrastinating, and just start making positive changes now. How to declutter, just a little bit – not super deep into it, because you can’t handle that when you are this overwhelmed – but a surface declutter that will get you real results in your house so you can clean up less.

How to declutter toxic relationships in your life and set some good boundaries. How to simplify cleaning, get healthy and feel better – finally!

How to simplify your calendar. How to start owning your time and not just managing it as life happens to you.

How to stop just setting goals and letting them sit there. Start actually defining where you want to go and getting there through reverse engineering and goal-setting.

How to create a cleaning routine that works for you and your life.

This course is a mini-course. It is small. It is straightforward. But it is everything for the mom who feels like she needs a total overhaul, but is too overwhelmed to start.

It will help you simplify the things that have you stuck and leave survival mode behind for good.

Is this resonating with you? Sound like you? Does this sound like something that would really help you right now? Go to bit.ly/getunburdened.

I really poured my heart into this little course. I created it for the mom who is really wanting to simplify, declutter, and pursue a life of less, but she is so burdened and overwhelmed with the mess of life. It’s not just her house. She wants to simplify at the surface of all the different things in her life so she can focus on her family more. So then she can focus more specifically on really, truly purging her entire house.

If this sounds like you, I encourage you to check it out. You are probably the person I created it for. I want you in there. I want it to help you.

Check it out.  bit.ly/getunburdened.

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Question #3: How do you decide which books to keep? Do you store them somewhere? Do you use digital books or do you have paper books? For you and your kids?

Okay, so my thing with books is that I love them. I'm a major bookworm. Some books just need to be read on paper.

Very, very few books, actually, I can look it up right now. Very few of my books are on audible. Okay. I've got 12 books in my audible APP right now and I've had my audible account for quite some time. I read about two to three books a month. So, that just shows you the ratio of how many books I have on paper. There are a lot of books in my house.

So, the thing is I really love the look of a nice full bookshelf in a room, especially with my decor. I really like clean straight lines, very modern, very white decor and it can kind of look un-cozy sometimes. So, I have little tricks that I do to make my house look really lived in. You can sit on the couch and curl up your feet, but it's still beautiful and modern and my style. Extra throw pillows and throw blankets thrown on the side of the couch and layered rugs and things like that.

And a bookshelf full of books in multiple rooms of my house. There's a shelf full of books in my room, a shelf full of books in the homeschool room, shelf full of books in the hallway coming into my living room. I love the look of lots of books. In my office I've got a bunch of books.

I keep most of the books that I read unless I loan them out and don't get them back, which happens a lot. And that's one reason that I do like getting paper books because I like when my friends use me like a library but don't give me my books back. It makes me happy that they're reading more, that I'm encouraging them to read, and I can give them suggestions on what to read.

But I do get rid of books that are either damaged or that I really didn't like. I've shared this before that I kind of bop between topics of reading and I'll read on one topic a whole bunch and then I'll go to something else. So recently, I was in a faith category of books and I was reading all these different faith-based books, The Case for Christ and Jesus Feminist and all these different faith-based books.

I ordered one that looked really good, and it was about women in the Bible and God's view of women and being a strong woman in modern day, yet still being a Christian. And I was really excited to read it. I got it and it was written by a man. I just was put off by that and like, “Well this isn't what I wanted.” I skipped, flipped through it but I didn't want to read it. I didn’t want to waste my time on it. I ended up just donating it right away.

I go to the donation center pretty often at our house, less often than I did when I was purging, but still pretty often. And books go in there when I know I'm not going to want it around.

So, that's how I do it with the kid’s books, they rip more because they're little. But if it's not damaged and something that we're going to read again, I just love having shelves of books in my house.

So, I think it's up to you. For me, it's worth it. It's part of my decor. It is something that I like. It's a quirk about me that I love having books everywhere. Of course they're organized and they're clean and minimal in the way they look. There's not one shelf full of all my books. It's scattered throughout my house to cozy up different rooms.

But that's me and that's a really specific quality of mind. It's not like I'm telling everyone to do that or you'll even want to do that, but that is what I do.

Question #4 (and our last question of the day): I see on your Instagram that you guys are at Target a lot. Me Too. How do you handle practicing minimalism and not going crazy at some place like Target? Any tips or strategies for enjoying shopping while also avoiding just accumulating more junk?

This is an incredible question. I think it needs to be a full episode, (so, thank you, whoever asked this) but I'm going to answer it here too quickly.

So, we live literally around the corner from Target. I could walk there in a few minutes. When I drive it takes me less than two minutes to get to Target. So, because of that I don't really make lists for stuff that we're running out of. We will run to Target multiple times a week and just grab what we need. I think being a minimalist for over six years now I have the practice and discipline to not go crazy at a place like Target. I've learned to see something and appreciate that it's adorable and not have to have it unless there's a place that I want to put it, or it will help me in some way, or I need it or love it in some way and I know where I'm going to put it.

I don't really struggle as much with that, “Oh my gosh, this is so cute, I'm going to buy it” thing. And I think that just comes from a few years under my belt of practicing living a lifestyle of “intentional lessness” for lack of a better term.

I really enjoy packing the kids up and just driving over to Target. Our Target has a Starbucks inside of it and I’ll get an ice coffee or a tea. The kids will bring a little toy with them and they'll walk by the cart and play little games with their toys together while me and Brian take a breath and get out of the house for a second.

You guys have to realize that I run the business from home. We homeschool the kids. We are home a lot, so it's kinda like just going through our normal life and then we'll realize “Uh-oh, I'm out of Q-tips. Oh, okay. Everyone get dressed, we're going to Target.” And the kids are like, “Yeah!” and we'll pack everybody up. We really want to get out of the house because we're always here, so we use the Target around the corner for that for us and it's really great.

But you'll notice we leave with the Q-tips and that's pretty much it. The kids don't expect toys when we go there. We've never done that with them so they don't irritate us by wanting to go and get a toy or anything. It's just really easy. So that's how we do it.

But I think it really just comes from practice. Don't go to that cheap dollar area. It's just like total clutter zone. I'll stay away from the clothing section a lot of the time unless I'm looking for something because, first of all, it's usually cheap and not super high quality and won't last long. And also, because I do have a little bit of a harder time in that section. I just really love clothes and fashion and styling myself. But if I have everything that I need in my closet and I'm not looking for anything, I won't go over there.

The other day I went over there for the first time in a while because I had needed to get a new pair of workout pants and I didn't want to get them at Lululemon. I wanted to get a cheap pair of running pants that I could destroy. I went over there and it was nice. I browsed. I looked at the T-shirts. They had so many cute things. I looked at the shorts. I grabbed my running pants and I just left. I was able to appreciate how cute everything was, but know that I didn't really need anything and just leave happily.

So, I think it's just about the practice of minimalism.


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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

 

Ep 058: You Can Stay Home With Your Kids with Erin Odom

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Do you desire to stay at home with your kids? I think we all do, at some point. But often, we are held back by this fear of finances. I want to encourage you that just because you stay home with your kids doesn’t mean you have to lack financially. There are plenty of ways you can stay at home with your kids while making an income. You can do it! Ask yourself, what am I good at? You are good at something. It may not be writing or podcasting, but it may be art or sewing or taking care of animals. Whatever you are good at, you can learn how to create more income with that!

Erin Odom is a stay at home, working mom to 4 who is passionate about helping other moms stay home with their kids and there is a lot that goes into that. From budgeting tips, bringing in some extra side income, turning a blog into a money maker, and more. She has so much to share with us in this episode!

 
 

In This Episode, Allie + Erin Discuss:

  • The importance of focusing on happiness, not finances when transitioning to working from home with your kids.

  • The top 3 things that you can do to take control of you life and finances so you can stay home with your kids.

  • What getting intentional with your finances looks like and how you can be purposeful in this area of your life.

  • Practical ways that you can start making money from home and some tips to help you get started.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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Have you been feeling really overwhelmed, not knowing where to start? Maybe you've been listening to the show for a while and you always hear me talk about simplifying your home. Letting things go that you don't really need. Simplifying your lifestyle. And you haven't really done much or you tried to start, but life got in the way and it just didn't go well. Whatever the reason may be that you're feeling a little cluttered, a little overwhelmed, that there's just always too much. 

I have put together a FREE guide to build some serious momentum for you to help launch you forward into success in your minimalist journey. And remember, minimalism does not have to be this stereotype thing where you basically own nothing. You count how many jeans you have. You don't get to shop. It's not this joy-sucking horror show. It's life giving. It's joyful. It's about having what you love and what you really need. Creating space for you to live a full, abundant, intentional life focused on your family. That's what really matters, right?


who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.

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ALLIE: Hi, sweet friends! Welcome to this episode!

I am really looking forward to introducing you to Erin Odom. You might already know her as The Humbled Homemaker, and if you don't then I feel really honored to be the one who introduced you to her. Erin is really special. She's actually one of the only bloggers that I've followed for a really long time, maybe even before I started my blog (or at least around the same time.)

I've always admired her and followed her stuff. She has a lot to say about lots of different things that have to do with being a homemaker and raising kids. Similar to how I used to blog about a lot of things and I still kind of do, but I really have honed in on minimalism and simplifying your space so that you can have more time and all that. Erin has really zeroed in on helping other moms stay home with their kids and there is a lot that goes into that. Budgeting tips. Bringing in some extra side income. Turning a blog into a money maker. Different things like that. That's really where her passion lies and that's what we're talking about today. So, without further ado, let's welcome Erin.

ALLIE: Hey ladies! Welcome back to another episode of The Purpose Show! I am very, very honored and excited to introduce today's guest to you. I have Erin Odom here with me. She is The Humbled Homemaker online. Thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule to be with us, Erin.

ERIN: Thank you so much for having me, Allie. I'm happy to be here.

ALLIE: I'm so excited to have you. I was just saying to Erin guys before we hit record, that she is one of the earlier bloggers that I followed. I looked up to you and always followed along on your journey and what you were sharing in your blog for years now. So, I'm really excited to have you here. This is great.

Okay, so Erin is the author of three books?

ERIN: I have two books with a publisher and then I have several ebooks too.

ALLIE: Okay.

ERIN:  My two that came out this year with a publisher are with Zondervan: More Than Just Making It and then the one I think you're going to talk about a little bit today, You Can Stay Home With Your Kids.

ALLIE: Yes. Okay, so I have the book here and it is just the cutest little square book. It has the cutest cover. It is called You Can Stay Home With Your Kids and it is 100 tips, tricks and ways to make it work on a budget.

And like I was saying to you, Erin, before we recorded, in episode six of this show (those of you who have listened) I shared me and Brian’s story of just barely making it. Really struggling. Food bank. Really just America's version of poverty I guess. Evictions. Repossessions. I mean really bad. And the overwhelming response was, “How can I get to the other side like you guys did? I would love to know more about what I can do.”

And it goes beyond just having a blog going viral. It's not luck. It was a lot about cutting back first and getting down to the nitty gritty of how are we overspending. Even though it feels like we're barely getting by, there's always more wiggle room you can create. There's always hope and there's always action you can take to improve this area of your life.

I feel like that's the tone of your book. It's very happy and hopeful and it's not “well just do more. Just cut back. Sorry, you don't get to have a phone.” It's very hope-filled, but also practical and I really like that.

ERIN: Thanks so much. I really want to give people hope. We were exactly where you were Allie, and I love when I meet other people that have that story because, one, I felt alone. I don't know about you, but I felt alone because people don't normally talk about it when they're struggling, and so I didn't tell that many people. That means that I struggled in kind of in isolation. So, our family stories are very similar. God really used my blog is the catalyst to bring us out of a low income, but He also used many other things and I share those in my new book, You Can Stay Home With Your Kids.

My first book, I shared it with more of a memoir, but I truly believe whether you think that you can blog or something else, that we all have that hope of getting to the place where we can stay at home with our kids and not feel so much of a financial frustration in the process.

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely. And I wanted you to tell about yourself, but I'm getting sidetracked. But first I wanted to say recently I was scrolling through something, I don't know where I saw it, but I saw something that had this tone that I see out there all the time. It was something about “let's not focus on money; let's focus on being happy” or something like that. Maybe you would agree, but coming through what I've been through, stuff like that kind of bothers me a little bit. You can say that, but I feel if you would say that, you haven't been without money, without anything.

You haven't been struggling to where you wake up and the first thought is, “what am I going to say to the landlord today? How am I going to make this bowl of cereal stretch to three? How am I going to make this work?” The lack of financial freedom in my family was such a heavy weight. It was just breathtaking and incredibly oppressive.

And I believe that is not abundant life. That is not what we're called to. And yes, money should not be our obsessive focus, and “let’s all gain, gain, and greed.” However, money makes the world go round and without money you can't give freely. You can't take a deep breath and enjoy going out to dinner with your family without freaking out about how are you going to pay the bills now.

And so, I feel like I get that tone from your book, that this isn't really about getting more money or about being so scrappy that that's your main focus. It's just about creating more space and I guess, breathability, in your life and your family so you can focus on what matters really.

ERIN: Absolutely. And I will tell you Allie, it's a really fine balance. When we were going through that low-income period…well first of all for years, I thought this is going to be life forever. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. And there are times even today where I'm given opportunities and I say “no” a lot, because I have four kids. You know, I run my blog as our business, and I write, but then there'll be something that comes on my path and it's a lot of money and I say “no” to it.

It's like I have this little pause of “what if I say no, and one day we run out of money” because of what I was going through, you know we didn't have many. We got to the end of the month and we didn't have anything in our refrigerator or cabinet. And I was like thank the Lord for these WIC checks because that was all that we had to eat, you know?

But I do think it's a fine line because I got to a point where we were starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and we were starting to have more income and I prayed, “God, help me not to forget this feeling. Help me not to forget what it was like not to have a whole lot so I can continue to cultivate gratitude” and it has made a huge difference. I will say that God has really honored that prayer in my life.

You and I both know the sky's kind of the limit in blogging and online entrepreneurship and I'm sometimes bothered by the focus on “let's just get more and more and more and more.” I don't know if this will be a book one day or not, but my focus now is, okay, what is enough?” Because we have enough. And how could we cultivate gratitude?

And today I look at money as” money is not evil.” The love of money is the root of evil. And so yes, like what you said, we have to have money to live. I remember feeling a little self-conscious. It was me; people probably weren't judging me, but I didn't tell a lot of people why I was trying to really grow the blog.

And I was hustling, hustling, hustling in the beginning. I really burnt myself out. I would stay up till 3 o’clock in the morning, all night long. I was working during the days, a lot. I felt sometimes like my friends in real life we're judging me, but they didn't know that we didn't have enough money to live. And even some of my blogging friends in the beginning, we're just, “Erin, you know, you're growing but you're burning yourself out.” And I was like, “Guys, we've got to have money to live.”

And so, there is that difference and it's just that balance of discovering “What is enough?” Because I think we can get to a point where we love money so much that we do end up neglecting what is the most important. We ask whenever we want to create more income to give our families some wiggle room, what is the goal? And for me it was to be able to stay home with my kids. So, I have that “check” in my spirit whenever I realize I'm getting burned out and I'm neglecting my kids because of my work.

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely. I totally know what you mean. it's like a constant “check,” a constant balance. Also, I think we love what we do. It's fun. I feel like sometimes I don't realize I'm getting burned out until it's almost not too late, but I'm deep in it, deep in the burnout phase. And so, to take some time off or whatever. But yeah, I understand everything, every bit of what you're saying.

So, you said you have four kids, so what ages do you have?

ERIN: My oldest will be 10 this summer, so I started this mom journey almost 10 years ago. My second is 7 ½. My third is 5 and they're all little girls. And then I have a 13-month-old little boy.

ALLIE: Oh my gosh. Yeah. My oldest is 9 and it feels weird. There's something that feels a little more legit or something about having a kid that’s a little bit older and having more “kid” issues than toddler. It's weird. That's exciting.

When you started your blog, did you immediately start sharing tips and tricks for budgeting and staying home or did you transition into that as a blogger?

ERIN: I transitioned into that as a blogger. At first, I was just kind of blogging about anything, a lot about motherhood, a lot about encouraging moms, a lot about what I was doing in my own life. In the early years it was breastfeeding and toddlerhood and all that. And then in the fall of 2012, I had been blogging for a year and a half at that point.

I did a joint series with some other bloggers on motherhood and we said, “Okay, let's assign each of us a different facet of motherhood that we can talk about.” And they knew that I was struggling financially, but my readers didn't know and they said, “Okay, Erin, we think you should be the person to write a post called “staying at home with your kids when you can barely afford it.” And that was the first post I really wrote about anything financial. It was really the most vulnerable post, the first time I've been very vulnerable in the blog.

I had been real. I had been authentic, but I hadn't been that vulnerable. I was really scared. I basically said “we're living on a rice and beans budget.” I clicked “publish” and I was like, “okay, maybe nobody will read this and I won't have to be embarrassed.” And I woke up to tens of thousands of page views and hundreds of comments.

It's been over five years and I still get page views to that blog post every day. I still get emails like “I read this post…” And I realized then I'm not alone in this. There are other moms just like me who are barely making ends meet. They're afraid to tell anyone. And they don't know how to do it. They don't know how to stay at home with their kids and also have that breathing room. They're constantly burdened with the weight of not having enough money.

ALLIE: Yeah. It weighs so heavy that it starts to affect everything. That's the thing I was saying earlier that bothers me about quotes like that, like “let's just be happy and not focus on money.” It bothers me because I feel like it was so heavy that it made me a bad mom. I was snappy and stressed. I always use the example that I felt like I was like Saran wrap stretched over a casserole, one little poke and it just comes apart. Like one thing goes wrong, $1 less and it matters.

And that affected my marriage and my motherhood. It affected my health a lot. My stress levels were through the roof. I didn't feel like getting up and going and doing anything with friends when I was invited. I couldn't, but I didn't feel like it anyway. I was depressive. It matters.

And so, I love the freedom of that you say, and that I will always say is, it's okay to want more and to do something out of the ordinary to get there, to give yourself that wiggle room that you need.

Having said all of that, what would you say? What are your top tips or top three things that people can do if they're listening to this? Maybe there's somebody who's working outside of the home, hates it and just desperately wants to be home, but she knows they need that income. What would you say to her to maybe start taking some action steps to changing her situation?

ERIN: I would say you have to figure out what is the root reason why you can't be a stay-at-home mom, if you want to be a stay-at-home mom. Some people are called to whatever career and I want to make it very clear that there should be no shaming of any mom, whether she's a working mom or a work-at-home mom, (which I think the two of us really are work-at-home moms - we stay home with our kids, but we work at home) or a full-time stay-at-home mom. There's no shame.

But if you do desire to be at home with your kids, what is keeping you back? What's the root cause? Is it because you have an income problem? You don't have enough money to live just on your husband's salary? That was our family's issue. My husband is very fine with me saying that. I talk about it in both of my books a lot. Honestly, we look back and we feel like we were so naive. We didn't know that we didn't have enough money to live.

We were spinning our wheels thinking we are doing something wrong. What we were doing wrong was that we didn't know we didn't have enough, and we had a financial advisor from our church who helped us discover that. So, do you have an income problem, mom? Do you simply not have enough money to live with just one parent working outside of the home? Or is there a spending problem?

I call these problems, but there’s grace, whichever one you have. I'm not trying to come down on you. I'm saying are there areas of spending that you could cut back in order to have the margin you need to be able to give up your salary as a full-time, outside-of-the-home, working mom?

Or are there gifts, and I believe all of us have gifts, that you have that you can use to create income from home and that can be your income problem solution. Creating an income from home.

So, I would say figure out the root cause. What is the root reason why you can't stay at home? Do you have an income problem? Do you have a spending problem? And from there seek ways to curb spending or create more income.

If the spending is your problem, I encourage you to take this next month and record every single penny you've spent - every penny - and at the end of the month, take that list and divide it into two. What are these things that are absolute necessities for us to live? Utilities, rent or your mortgage, food. I would argue that there's ways to trim your food budget too.

What are things that are wants? What are areas we spend on? Our wants are not bad in and of themselves, especially if you have the money to do them, but those are going to be things like going to the movies, going out to eat, cable, the gym membership.

Again, I am all for adding those things back into your budget whenever you learn to create more income, but those are things that you can take away in the temporary so you could come home with your kids.

So, if you have the income problem, I encourage you (I love talking about this) to list some different gifts and talents you have. Are you good at art?

There was one lady I include in my book who loved painting her kids' faces. She created a business called “The Joy of Face Painting (her name is Joy) where she goes to children's birthday parties and she's paid to paint faces. I think that's so creative.

Allie and I, we blog. She podcasts and does YouTube. I'm hoping to do some more of that stuff in the future, but that's how we were created and there may be some of your listeners who are the same way. They're talented in the media arts.

But just because you're not doesn't mean that you can't create more income from home in the way that you are talented. Do you love animals? Maybe you could be a dog groomer in your own house. I love to tell people, “think back to when you were a child, what made you come alive? You know, I was always writing stories, but what about you? What is it for you? I think you can use that and you can create income from home with wherever that is.

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely. You can do “that thing” for pay or you could create a business teaching other people how to be good at that thing too. There's so much. I love that you said earlier too that there are no limits. There really are no limits. It's such a good time.

I was overwhelmed by the messages after that one episode I told you about and I kept responding to everybody. They were spiraling and kind of stressing out like, “I want to do this to you, but I don't know how.” It's such a hopeful time. There are no limits. You can literally make a business online out of almost anything. It's amazing. For such a little cost too. I mean I did everything. We found a work around to do everything before I could afford anything. It was just an amazing time to be a creative woman who wants to be home with their kids and wants to do something.

I think too, the other benefit is you get to have a little side thing too that’s your passion Not just about the money, you get to have a little side hustle and something that you're passionate about outside of raising your kids, which is great.

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Hey girl! Real quick, let me tell you about something that I've created that is totally free and amazing that I'm so excited to have you get your hands on. It is called my Minimalism Starter Kit.

Have you been feeling really overwhelmed, not knowing where to start? Maybe you've been listening to the show for a while and you always hear me talk about simplifying your home. Letting things go that you don't really need. Simplifying your lifestyle. And you haven't really done much or you tried to start, but life got in the way and it just didn't go well.

Whatever the reason may be that you're feeling a little cluttered, a little overwhelmed, that there's just always too much. Maybe you're constantly cleaning and you feel like the house is actually never clean. I can totally help you and it can be simple to get started.

I have put together The Starter Kit to basically build some serious momentum for you to help launch you forward into success in your minimalist journey. And remember, minimalism does not have to be this stereotype thing where you basically own nothing. You count how many jeans you have. You don't get to shop. It's not this joy-sucking horror show.

It's life giving. It's joyful. It's about having what you love and what you really need. Creating space for you to live a full, abundant, intentional life focused on your family. That's what really matters, right?

The Minimalism Starter Kit will basically walk you through what minimalism actually is. A healthy, happy, realistic version of it. For moms, written by me, for you. It goes through why would you want to do this? What's it going to do for you? Where's it going to take you?

It helps you find your why and has you answer some questions for yourself. It's fillable on the computer or you could print it out and fill it in like a journal with a pen old school style.

It will walk you through decluttering your laundry and dishes - the two biggest time suckers for Moms, right?

It will also give you a list of 15-minute, quick and easy decluttering projects for the busy mom who doesn't know where to start.

It also includes a list of 20 things that you can get rid of right now.

This is a serious momentum builder. It's about getting started in making decisions and letting go of stuff right now. It empowers you and it will help you keep going. It also includes a 10-minute declutter challenge.

It'll help you keep going after you're done with The Minimalism Starter Kit.

It has resources and some really punchy words in there from me to you that will help you keep going. It's got resources like my top blog posts and top other things I have put together that are totally free for you to keep going.

Go check it out. alliecasazza.com/starterkit.

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ALLIE: Okay. So, in a summary or one sentence, what does getting intentional with our finances look like in your opinion? And how can we get purposeful in this area of our lives? I feel like you’ve somewhat answered this, but maybe just for somebody who might be afraid to look.

I feel like a lot of people avoid money altogether. That's how I was. That's how I responded to really “the trauma” of what had happened with us. Just avoid it. I don't even want to see it. I didn't want to say the word “budget.” It was hard for me for a long time.

If somebody is really struggling and doesn't even know what to do, how does it look to really be a good steward, I guess? And get intentional with this area of our lives? This show is all about getting purposeful with each topic that we talk about.

ERIN: I can be like you, Allie, and I can just say, “Okay, I just don't even want to know” because my husband does manage our finances. It's scary when you have lived in that season (for us it was years, and it sounds like for you too) where you don't have a whole lot. You don’t want to look at what you have.

I have learned when you discover your root issue of your financial frustration and then you seek to better that, if you live by a budget, it'll give you more security. If you begin to budget and you begin to take out things that are wants in order to curb spending and create more income, when you have a budget, you're going to be able to look and say, “Okay, I do have some money that I can spend.”

So, I would encourage you to go back to that list of wants and needs. Record everything for a month. Divide them up – wants and needs. Look at what you can take away and then from there create a budget.

So, anyone who gets my book I have in the book itself (these are not even included in the preorder bonuses which people can get right now) a link to extra resources and one of them is a printable budgeting sheet. There's lots of printable budgets sheets. If you google “free printable budget sheet” you'll find one I'm sure. But with that, what our family does is we categorize everything. For example, we have a clothing budget.

Before when we didn't have a budget and we barely had any money, if I needed a new pair of jeans, I was just struck and overcome with overwhelm, fear, and had this huge burden of “I need a new pair of jeans and I don't know that we have the money for me to buy them.”

But now how we have our budget, we have a clothing fund and so now I am sure if we have the money in there to buy a pair of jeans.

Does that make sense?

ALLIE: Yeah, instead of just avoiding it - whether you have a lot or a little - instead of avoiding it, it's taking control and realizing “whatever money is there, it doesn't really help me if I don't know about it.” So, taking ownership of what you have and coming to terms with your role with it.

ERIN: Absolutely. And that was the thing sometimes, especially after the blog started making money, there would be money there and I still didn't want to spend anything because I was scared.

ALLIE: Yeah. In the beginning, for me, it felt very much like this is a limited-time thing so we should just hold onto this like crazy. My story is different. I didn't leak in; we had a big wave from virality. That was even worse because it was like, “okay, well this is going to die down and then that's it.” And it was very much not an abundance mentality of, “you know, there's always more where that came from. There's always more than I do.”

So, I was terrified. Then Good Morning America wanted to come over to our house to interview us and it was empty. I was so embarrassed. I was panicking and torn between do I get some furniture or not? If I do, then I'm going to spend the money. I was panicking.

The Lord really washed over me with “this isn't all I'm going to do. There is more where that came from.” And then that also is in forgiving. Giving and being a good steward. Saving and setting aside. Money is meant to be used. But when you have that control over it and you feel wise about it and you have a clue what's going on, it's so much more empowering than avoidance. Avoidance just feels like stabbing in the dark, not really being sure what you're spending

ERIN: From a spiritual standpoint, I talk about a lot in my book, More Than Just Making It, God really taught me He's the provider of all of our needs. It's really interesting because I talked about that a lot in my first book and then this past year we had a tough year. Now, was it tough compared to a few years ago? No, not at all.

I had a baby. That was a wonderful surprise but in the middle of writing and launching two books all within the past 13 months. So, God has been showing me again, “Just how I took care of you in the past. I'm going to continue to take care of you. I'm going to continue to provide for your needs.” That doesn't mean that we just sit on our butts and don't do anything. But that mentality of “I’ve got to hoard this or it's going to go away,” I understand. I totally relate to you because I think it was trauma we went through too. We lost a house in the recession and I declared bankruptcy at eight months pregnant with my third child.

ALLIE: Yeah, it definitely doesn't “do nothing” to you. It will definitely kind of mess you up a little bit to go through things like that. You think, “I've seen money come and go and I don't want it to go again.” But you know it's a fear-based decision and I don't want to live my life out of that.

If anyone is listening and feeling the same, I would just encourage you to deal with that and learn to let it go because any lifestyle lived out of fear is just not God's will for you at all. It’s not abundant life and that's what we're here for. That's what He came to give us.

Okay. So, my last question for you is what is one really commonly asked question that you get all the time? I'm sure people listening are thinking the same thing and you know better than I do what that might be. And then maybe share your response to that.

ERIN: Yeah. Well we've really talked about it a lot, but it is, “How could I do what you've done? How can I make money from home?” I know you said that you covered that in Episode 6 about your story. If you're listening and you're saying, “Oh my goodness, Erin and Allie, I'm living that life that you were living, but I'm living it now and the tunnel is so dark. Sure, you ladies have done that, but how could I do it? I'm barely making it and I want to stay home with my kids.”

I would say, “You can do it. There is hope.” Sit down today. Take a few minutes and I want you to write down what are you good at. You are good at something. It may not be writing, it may not be podcasting, but it may be art. It may be sewing. It may be taking care of animals. Something. I challenge you to sit down today and I want you to just do a bubble map and brainstorm what are some of those talents I have. Then from there you can learn how to create more income with that.

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely. Keep it simple. Not using what we're doing or somebody else's example as your guiding point, but just what are you good at? Then working around that.

What's really important for me, too, is I'm used to being a stay-at-home mom. I was happy doing that. I didn't think, “Oh, I wish I could do something else.” I wanted to contribute, especially when we were struggling, but Brian & I both agreed that was where I was supposed to be and it was good. But now that I am working, the only thing that makes me so happy and excited to even be doing this is because I love it.

I think it's so important that you base it on something that you do enjoy doing. Not just like, “Oh, I'm good at this, so I guess I'll try to make an extra 10 bucks.”

It is time away from your kids. It just is. I mean it can help make your family's quality of life so much better. But it still should be something that you enjoy, that you feel called to. When you're walking in that purpose, nothing really matters compared to that. It doesn't matter how much money you're making. It's good, it's fun and enjoyable and it can add to your family's finances too.

ERIN: Just for effort, three practical resources, because that is the question I get all the time, “How could I do what you have done?” There are three different business resources for women in business that I have used and loved.

One of those is Christy Wright’s Business Boutique. They have a conference every year in Nashville, but she also has a free podcast, a book and a lot of different resources. It’s through the Dave Ramsey Association.

Another one is Brilliant Business Moms and they have a podcast. I think they're taking a hiatus right now with the podcast, but they have a great support group on Facebook and a ton of resources online.

The other one is iBloom In Business.

Maybe you can link to them in the show notes. But those are three that if you're listening and you desperately want to be able to do what we've done, those are helpful and they're not just blogging specific. They are for how are you created and gifted or what are you passionate about? And let's take it from there and create a business around it.

ALLIE: Love that. Okay. We'll definitely link to all those things. And to your book, when does this come out? It's not out yet, right?

No, it's out April 10th. So, You Can Stay Home With Your Kids is out April 10th and anyone who preorders between now and April 10th, they will get some preorder bonuses. One of my favorite businesses, Free Reign Farms is giving a coupon gift certificate for free chocolate fudge. They came out with that and I was like, “What mom doesn’t need more chocolate? Hello? And also some bath bombs. They’re also going to get a 2-week Aldi meal plan and a nice art print that my publisher will mail to them with an inspirational quote from the book.

Also my other book is already out, it's called More Than Just Making It: Hope For The Heart Of The Financially Frustrated. It's my memoir. There's practical meat in it as well. It's really raw. I mean it starts out with me going into the food stamps office.

ALLIE: I might have an emotional breakdown if I read that one.  

ERIN: I want you to read it because then you're going to say “I could totally have written this book” because I think our stories are so similar and it's so good to not feel alone.  

And ladies, if your listening, you are not alone. Seriously. You’ve got two people here.

ALLIE: Yeah. And that went to the other side. So, there is so much help for you guys and that's really why I wanted to have Erin on for you guys.

So, thank you Erin so much. Again. I'm so excited to have you here. This was so great. Thank you so much.

ERIN: Thank you so much for having me, Allie!

ALLIE: And guys, we'll link to everything in the show notes. So just head over there. Alliecasazza.com/shownotes/58. We'll link to the books and all of those resources to Erin listed. So go check it out.


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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

 

Ep 057: Communication in Marriage with Brian Casazza

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Communication is something Brian and I get asked about a lot. We don’t have it down, we are far from perfect at it, and we certainly are not experts. But we have learned and grown a lot over the years. One of the biggest areas our communication has evolved is understanding one another’s personality type and the way we communicate best. Be encouraged - communication will never be perfect, but I think what matters is that it is existent, a priority, and is always growing.

 
 

In This Episode, Allie + Brian Discuss:

  • The various types of communicators and how knowing the type of communicator you and your spouse are is important when it comes to navigating communication in your marriage.

  • Her and Brian’s problem areas in communication and the solutions that have worked for them.

  • How some communication issues are simply a male/female difference, which isn’t something we can change but can learn to appreciate.

  • The importance of finding the root of issues instead of staying on the surface or temporarily fixing it. This takes intentional communication!

Mentioned in this Episode:

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Motherhood is hard. I am not going to lie to you about that. While it is servitude and giving to your family from yourself, it doesn’t have to be something that we are waiting to be over. Something that we are counting down the minutes till naptime, or bedtime, or waiting for the next day to start. If you are wanting to sort through the clutter in your mind, your heart, your home calendar, your health, routines, and relationships, I created Unburdened just for you!

It is a guide that will help you go from drowning in the sea of stress and overwhelm, to owning your time and living the best version of your motherhood. So you can live abundantly while intentionally focusing on those who matter most.


who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.

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Hey guys! I'm extra excited for this episode because today I'm bringing on my husband, Brian. He's been on with me for a few different episodes in the past and they're always really fun and really well received, which makes me happy.

The other day we were having a conversation around our kitchen counter and going over feedback that we've gotten on the topic of marriage. It's not something that I really love talking about or feel super pulled to talk about, but it's definitely something that has to do with our roles as women, moms and having families. It's there and it's something that we need to talk about. And so, when I get questions about it, if they're really good or I feel really lead toward answering one of them, I'll of course bring the topic to the show.

We recently have been getting a lot of questions regarding communication in marriage. It's probably because I’ve said a few things on Instagram recently about how we've worked on that over the course of our relationship.

Anyway, today we're talking about communication in marriage. How to communicate effectively when you're different personality types. There's different types of communicators out there, verbal and internal, and it can get tense. Brian and I know all about that, so I asked him to come on the show with me and he was really excited to do this episode.

So, let's give a warm welcome to my hubby and dive in.

ALLIE: Hey Baby, I love when we do episodes together.

BRIAN: I like it too.

ALLIE: Okay. So, we're gonna talk about communication in marriage. A disclaimer from both of us, I think. We have kind of shied away from talking about marriage, actually not kind of, we have deliberately shied away from it because we don't feel like, “Oh we're so good at this and let's talk about it. Let's tell other people how to do what we do.”

But it's something that we get asked about all the time. God's really been working on both of our hearts, wanting to open up and have a conversation, not from a preachy standpoint…

BRIAN: Maybe more from the point of we have gone through this and experienced this and now this is what we know. Everything has been good and we've learned a lot.

ALLIE: What works. We used to struggle with this and now we don't. Definitely for this episode specifically, that's kind of where we're coming from here and it's something that we're always evolving in and working on.

Even just this morning I had a total meltdown and needed to communicate. It's always a point of tension, I think, in any relationship with how you communicate. So, having said that, we put together just a few really straightforward points. We sat down over coffee together the other day to outline this episode and we were like, “Okay, what works for us? What communication stuff do we have to say?” And I came up with a few things and actually I feel like you wrote this episode more than I did. I contributed two small things.

Brian, actually that's what always surprises me about doing episodes with you is that we sit down to do it and I think, “Okay, I'm the one that writes podcasts all the time so I'll be the one to do this and then you just kind of show up and you're like, “Oh, also this super wise, amazing Gandhi-style piece of wisdom.” And it’s like, “Oh, I didn't know you knew so much about marriage now.”

Okay, now let's get into the first point.

BRIAN: I guess the first thing that matters I feel like is knowing each other, the type of person you are, that person I am. I feel like that has fixed and helped so many things in our marriage. Knowing, first of all, there's two different tests. I forget what they are.

ALLIE: The Myers Briggs and  Enneagram.

BRIAN: Ok, so we did both of those and then knowing you're this type of person and I'm almost the opposite. So, we worked together well. But I know how you are and I know the things that you like, that you don't like, that bother you, that don't. And you know those things about me. So that helps when we break down the communication with those things.

You like it when you're talking to me and I'm doing certain things to show you that I'm listening. Whereas, I don't have to have those same things when we're talking.

ALLIE: It doesn't bother you if I'm cooking at the same time as listening to you. Or sometimes even if I'll be in the middle of writing an email and you're talking about something, I can still retain what you're saying, usually, while I'm writing that email. For me, I think it's half that I've seen proof that you can’t do that and retain it and half that it's just a quirk about me that I really like it when you are looking at me and showing me “I'm listening. I'm engaged. The noise that the kids are making isn't affecting me. I'm here and I'm focused on you.” It really helps me feel loved and listened to.

I think also that Love Languages is a huge thing, knowing that. Even if it's not directly related to communication, just knowing that about each other helps and communication types. So, for an example, I'm an external processor. So, guys when I'm dealing with something or I need to work through something, the way that I do that is by talking it out, out loud. I don't really know how I feel about something until I'm talking it out. Then I realize where I stand with something or what I should do about a problem while I'm talking it out. I don't usually need Brian to help me or fix it. Actually, I really don't like it when he tries to do that. I just need to talk it out to somebody.

BRIAN:  And I am the opposite where if I hear that then I'm thinking, “Okay, you want me to fix this problem. Or there’s a problem or there's some sort of advice or solution that you want.” I'm just that way where I want to fix it right away or I want to help you right away. So, I have to know that you’re like that or know that you’re talking to me in that way so that I don't make you feel not listened to by just trying to solve your problems and have it be done, because you just want to talk it out and talk about it.

ALLIE: Yeah, and I'll say, “Okay, I do kind of want to talk out what I could do here.” I'll tell him I want his input.  

For Brian, he is a very internal processor, physically, all-the-time internal processor. So, something will happen or I'll be saying something and it looks like he doesn't care or he's zoned out, but he's just thinking. He's processing it. And that's really hard for me.

BRIAN: Before we knew all this, that caused a lot of communication fights.

ALLIE: Maybe even our #1 fight because it was just so hourly that that would happen. Especially, too, after you quit your job and we were home together all the time. I noticed a big spike. That's when we figured it out – “Okay, we want to be home all together, all the time, and give our kids this great life, but it's not great because we're fighting all the time.” It was stuff like that. Just figuring out stuff like this.

And so, knowing how each other is and then respecting that and I think coming up with an agreement like who's going to give in here? Are you going to kneel towards what I need or am I going to kneel towards what you need? Finding a balance for yourself as a couple.

We'll link in the show notes to the personality tests we mentioned. Especially the Enneagram. I feel like it's more helpful than the Myers Briggs. It was really helpful. And in case you're wondering, I'm an 8 and Brian is a 2, so we compliment each other and also opposite.

It really comes down I think to respect because being opposites can be good, unless you're disrespectful, then it just becomes “I'm better than you” or “you're better than me.” It becomes a finger pointing fest and it sucks and it makes things hard.

Okay. So, let's go over some of the problems with communication. We touched on it a little bit, like I feel like you don't listen.

BRIAN: Yeah. That one was hard and that's been a problem a lot. What we've figured out and worked through is that I'm listening when you're talking, but if I'm not showing you physically, then you feel like I don't listen.

ALLIE: Right.

BRIAN: And I get frustrated because I'm listening, but that's just the way that you are. You have to see me listening.

ALLIE: So, here's a practical way that we have handled this problem. When I feel like Brian's not listening, I will just ask, “Are you listening?” Or sometimes I'll say, “Hey, are you able to listen to right now?” It's more respectful. I know that you have a life and stuff to do. I used to just walk in and be like, “Okay I'm here!” I'm definitely more of the self-centered one in the relationship. Brian's really giving, humble, and sweet and I just am not naturally like that.

So, I used to come into the room and say, “Okay this is what happened,” and just start with my problem. He would be in the middle of something. And so, I've started to ask beforehand, preemptively say, “Are you able to listen to me right now?”

And he will say “Yes” and drop everything. Or he'll say, “Why don't we feed the kids lunch and then get Emmett down for nap and we can sit and talk?” And I'll wait even though I'm frustrated. We have balanced it that way. It's not just him catering to me. Sometimes he can't listen right now and so I will have to hold onto it and that's just the way things are.

Okay. So, one of the other problems that we talked about was that I need to finish talking something out, all the way without interruption. And really pretty much early on in the conversation Brian will feel like he gets it, and it can be done now. “Okay. I get it.” And I have to keep going all the way until I get my whole point across. And then I just want him to be like, “Yeah, that sucks.”

BRIAN: I'm like an interrupter where right when you say something that I have on my mind, that I can answer that thing right then. Even though you wanted to finish all of your stuff, I want to say something about that thing.

ALLIE: Or you see where I’m going with it and you’re like, “Good. I got it.” But then that makes me feel unloved and not listened to. And that's been like a big one for us. What would you say that we do about that? Because I feel like we don't really struggle with that as much anymore. I feel like that one I would say, I don't know about you, but I would say that with that one that's been one that you have to kneel and give in to. I've cried over that before. “Just let me finish!” It's frustrating. And so, you've learned to let me finish. And once I get it out, that's all I needed to do. Would you agree with that’s how we've solved it?

BRIAN: Sure.

ALLIE: Okay. Do you want to go over your problem that I have that’s hard for us?

BRIAN: Yeah. Figuring out problems or you coming to me with something, I just sometimes need to sit and think. Or even have time by myself for a minute to sort it out. It's how I figure things out. You have a hard time with that. With all the tests, you know more about me now, know the type of person I am, the way that I am, and you understand. Just like how I understand you have different things, you understand that I have different things and we work with each other back and forth, you know?

That's one of the things that you give me a little bit of space to solve something or just think it out in my head. But I have also come to understand that you like to talk things out, even when you're processing something, talking it out while you're thinking about it, I will kind of do that with you if we're both trying to figure something out. Because I know that's how you are, I try to put my thoughts out so you see what I'm thinking, how I'm thinking, so we can work together instead of me thinking about it and coming to you with an answer.

ALLIE: And I appreciate that so much. I can't even tell you. It helps me feel really loved and known. And also, it's funny because it’s like you are “externally processing” and you’re not. You're just repeating the problem. So, Brian will be trying to join in and make me feel like “Okay, we're gonna work through this together,” and I will externally process, popping out possible solutions. Even if they're crazy, I'm just working through it. He'll just keep repeating the problem. “Okay, she sent you this text and it really upset you and you're really annoyed about it. Okay. So, she sent you…you got a text…” He repeats the problem and it's so cute because he is trying.

Okay. But I think, too, we'll have things where if it's something that we need to make a decision on, we'll table it - even though that's so hard for me - because you need to process internally, and because how you feel about the thing really matters. Like if it's not something that's just for me, for example, if I did get an upsetting text from a friend and I didn't know how to respond, that's really my problem. It's nice that you care and you want to listen to me. It might help me form a response, but that's really my problem. But if there's a family thing that we have to work through, it matters what you think. It matters that you have space to get to a point where you know what to do or you know how you feel because you don't even know how you feel at first. That's what you're processing, right? Just letting it sift a little bit. And I don't need that.

I see the balance. It depends on what it is and who needs precedence here. Who needs what. Whether we take a beat or we just dive right in and start, I’ll externally process it.

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Do you feel like you are barely getting through your days friend? Does motherhood feel more like a hurricane of chaos that you are just surviving rather than the awesome, joy-filled season that you want it to be?

Well, motherhood is hard. I am not going to lie to you about that. While it is servitude and giving to your family from yourself, it doesn’t have to be something that we are waiting to be over. Something that we are counting down the minutes till naptime, or bedtime, or waiting for the next day to start. If you are wanting to sort through the clutter in your mind, your heart, your home calendar, your health, routines, and relationships, I created Unburdened just for you!

It is a guide that will help you go from drowning in the sea of stress and overwhelm, to owning your time and living the best version of your motherhood. So you can live abundantly while intentionally focusing on those who matter most.

Unburdened is the overwhelmed beginner’s guide to a simpler motherhood.

In Unburdened, I will walk you through how to stop over-complicating, procrastinating, and just start making positive changes now. How to declutter, just a little bit – not super deep into it, because you can’t handle that when you are this overwhelmed – but a surface declutter that will get you real results in your house so you can clean up less.

How to declutter toxic relationships in your life and set some good boundaries. How to simplify cleaning, get healthy and feel better – finally!

How to simplify your calendar. How to start owning your time and not just managing it as life happens to you.

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How to create a cleaning routine that works for you and your life.

This course is a mini-course. It is small. It is straightforward. But it is everything for the mom who feels like she needs a total overhaul, but is too overwhelmed to start.

It will help you simplify the things that have you stuck and leave survival mode behind for good.

Is this resonating with you? Sound like you? Does this sound like something that would really help you right now? Go to bit.ly/getunburdened.

I really poured my heart into this little course. I created it for the mom who is really wanting to simplify, declutter, and pursue a life of less, but she is so burdened and overwhelmed with the mess of life. It’s not just her house. She wants to simplify at the surface of all the different things in her life so she can focus on her family more. So then she can focus more on really, truly purging her entire house.

If this sounds like you, I encourage you to check it out. You are probably the person I created it for. I want you in there. I want it to help you.

Check it out.  bit.ly/getunburdened

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ALLIE: And so, kind of circling back to the problem that I think most couples have, it's a communication problem, but it's also more of a male/female problem. It’s that I want Brian to listen and not try to solve, and he wants to fix it.

BRIAN: I understand that. And I can do that. Even the other day, you talked to me about a bunch of things that were bothering you. I so badly wanted to just answer because I knew the solutions to some of them. I wanted to say, “Okay, do this, do this, do this, do this,” but I held it back and sat and let you finish. Then later you came to me and we talked and I helped you with some of those things.

ALLIE: It's not that I, or we as women, never want help; we're just not ready for it yet. I have to just get it out. It's almost like a venting session. Even if you have an amazing fix-it solution, I just am not ready for it. I know it's weird, it's weird to even say it, but it's just how I feel. It makes me feel unloved when you give a solution at that point, even though you're like, “If this will just fix your problem...” I just don't want it. I'm not ready.

BRIAN: I am just like that. When I'm thinking of something, I just want to think of the solution.

ALLIE: Yeah, well maybe it’s logical but it's just not how I operate. So, coming back… we listed the problems and kind of grazed over what we do about it.

But I really think, like Brian said in the beginning, understanding how one another operates. Brian knows to look at me and show physically, in some way, that he is actively listening. It's not like he doesn't do anything and just stands there and stares at me. If he's making the kids’ lunch while I'm talking and I'm really stressed, I'm just talking about a problem or something, he's actively making eye contact. As he makes the kids’ lunch, he's looking up every few seconds and showing me that he's listening. Maybe repeating what I said a couple times to make sure he understands and it just really helps.

And if I'm venting something out or externally processing something, I've learned to say, “Okay, that's it. I'm done talking about this.” And then I'll say, “So what do you think I should do,” if I'm open to solutions. If I don’t, then he knows to wait. So, he is giving me what I need and I'm also giving him cues because ladies, men are not mind readers and they can't know what you want.

So, having those marital cues where you say, “Okay, that's it. I'm done talking about this. I don't want to talk about it anymore,” and leaving is so much better than having an argument, like, “Can you stop? Why do you have to fix everything?”

Saying “I'm done talking now; what do you think I should do” is such a great cue for him to go ahead and offer solutions. I just think it really helps. We've had conversations where we decided we would do these things, and now we do them. It helps to have open communication about your communication.

And I'm learning to let him process internally and not demand talking right away. I would say that this gets stressful for me when we're talking to someone else, like the adoption interview that we did. We were sitting there and they asked such intense questions and you're just expected to answer. And so, they asked us, I forget exactly what it was but it was a really personal, intense question. I'm sitting there and Brian's literally just sitting and staring. And I'm like, okay, I guess I'll take this one.

I can see that he’s internally processing, but I'm wondering if this lady thinks that we're keeping a secret or we did something bad in this area and we don't want to talk about it. And he's being weird and silent. So, then I fill the silence trying to make it not awkward and just start spouting off all of this personal information to answer her question. Then Brian put his hand on my leg and took over with the wisest, calmest, most wise answer ever because he just needed a minute.

So, I think it's funny that I'll get stressed when someone else is present. If we ever did a press interview together, I think it would be hilarious because I'd be like, “Oh my God, answer!” It's just funny.

But everyone is different and I think that those differences sometimes need to be worked on honestly. And sometimes they just need to be celebrated and bent over backwards for. Because you're married and you have to make this work, right?

Yeah. Okay. So, you want to go over the last point. This is not really, really exactly communication, but I loved that you said this when we were talking and it's definitely important.

BRIAN: Okay. So, you know, there's a lot of areas that we used to have problems with or fight with communication and I feel like we've figured out solutions to all of those things. If there's something that we're talking about or that's a problem, we won't just let it “be there.” We were driving somewhere the other day and we were starting to argue about it and we stopped and pulled over and fixed it before we even continued going instead of “deal with this later.”

ALLIE: Yeah. We pulled over, paused and just talked it out while the kids played in the car because it was going to ruin our day. We're on our way to a fun family day. And guys, isn't that when things always happen? Like you're going to have a really good intentional day as a family or date night as a couple. And it's like the enemy just gets in there and makes a problem.

And it's like, “No, we're not going to let that happen. We're not going to ignore this or push it aside, but we're going to deal with it like adults and just pull over. Calm down and just work it out.” It's so often just a miscommunication and the way to fix those miscommunications (it can even be a miscommunication of body language even) is to (hypothetically and literally) pull the car over, press pause and check in. What do you think I'm saying? How are you feeling? And then that was one of my points, like for me to say, “I am feeling like you don't care about my feelings or you don't care about what I'm saying.” And for Brian to say “That's not it at all. I'm sorry, I just looked at my phone because I'm waiting for a really important phone call about our finances or something,” whatever it was. It’s just a miscommunication so much of the time.

BRIAN: Yeah. So, another big thing that we figured out and the way we will communicate and talk about fixing a problem or if we're having a problem, is really digging down and finding where the root of this is coming from. Because a lot of times, we will be fighting and it'll be completely about the wrong things, where we won't even know what it is. We have to stop and say, “Hold on a second. What's the root problem?”

Digging down and getting down to that point instead of surface or temporarily fixing it. “Oh this is just fixed for now or maybe I don't want to deal with it right now” or whatever. But actually, it helps so much. Just spend the time, go all the way down, figure it out, and then it's just done, figured out. It's made us closer because we have both worked through it in a way.

ALLIE: Instead of just trying to sweep it under the rug. The only way over it is through and just working through it.

And I think also talking about getting to the root of the problem, it’s easy in a marriage - especially when you're like us and you're together all day, every day - it can get easy to poke at each other and make snide remarks if you're frustrated, or to be honest, kind of sick of each other, maybe a little bit. That’s rare for us, but every once in a while there's a lot going on and we're involved with each thing about each other's lives all the way through, and that's just a lot on a marriage.

So, I think sometimes making it easy to poke at each other and irritate each other or say something negative to each other when you really need to get to the root issue. What is the actual problem? “Well, it really hurt me this morning when you said this or I felt like you didn't care when you did that and that's why I'm having this attitude towards you today.”

And then it's like, “Okay, well then let's talk about that.”

BRIAN: And then it's so much better when we dig down and just work it out.

ALLIE: Exactly. I know this episode is about communication and marriage, but just saying in general to communicate with each other about everything is so huge. It's everything. You've got to be able to come and say, “I really need to talk.”

I know at any time if I come to you and I say, “I'm really frustrated. Can we just talk about this?” It might not be right then and there, but we'll talk about it. You're willing to at least hear me out and I'm willing to hear you out, even if it's something that I don't think is a problem, I didn't understand, or I don't really want to talk about.

And we do that for each other. And that kind of goes into making time for that. Not going a long time without talking, which was hard for us when you were gone all the time. But we always made time for that. Just staying connected, communicating, being honest about how you feel, but being honest respectfully and lovingly. I think that is how you have successful communication. Even when there's flaws, even when there's disagreements, if you can communicate and you openly communicate, that's where you have successful communication.

BRIAN: Especially, when we're both having that understanding of we're both “like this” and “like that” and we're going to work on something or talking whenever we come together. Having all these tools and knowing all these things about each other, it just makes it so much easier.

ALLIE: Yeah, and I think successful communication in your marriage is not perfect. It's just there.

BRIAN: We're still learning. Every time we communicate about something, we get better and better and better at it. We learn more and more and more and better ways to do it and figure things out. I know that's just the way it's going to keep going.

ALLIE: Yeah. For sure. It'll never be perfect, but I think what matters is that it's there and that communication is existent and it's happening.


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