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 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 056: Slowing Down with Nichole Nordeman

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Chaos is a normal part of life, especially as moms. And it is important that we remember to slow down in the chaos and not wish it all away. You know, those moments spent begging for your little one to walk or talk, to sleep through the night, to hurry up and do the next thing. Because there will come a day when your kids are grown up and you will wish for those moments again. The moments you won’t ever get back; the moments you tried so hard to rush through.

Nichole Nordeman is known for her music as a Christian artist but she is also a mother of 2 and author. Her book, Slow Down: Embracing the Everyday Moments of Motherhood, is such a calm and easy read. It's one of those books you’d want to have on your bookshelf to reference here and there when you need a reminder to really be present and just be with your kids. Her mantra is to lower the bar of expectations we place on our lives and to slow down, embracing the everyday moments of life.

*Note, if you aren’t a mom, this episode is still for you! There is SO much wisdom in this episode that we can all use when it comes to learning to slow down and enjoying the everyday moments of life.

 
 

In This Episode, Allie + Nichole Discuss:

  • Ways you can slow down and be present with your family in the midst of chaos.

  • The value of saying “I don't know” to life’s big questions, because there are a lot of question marks and we don’t have to know all the answers.

  • Practical things you can do to slow down and take time for yourself.

  • How lowering your expectations will free you to pause and slow down easier.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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The Supermom Vault is a library of inspiration that 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. If you are looking for more than just podcast episodes, this is definitely the place to go! 


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: Hey, beautiful friends! Okay. I'm stoked for this interview. Nichole Nordeman is joining me today.

She has been such a role model for me in my life. When I was growing up, I had such an interest in music. I love music. I still do. It's a huge part of my life. When my parents saw that, they really encouraged me to listen to positive music, lots of Christian music. I was one of those kids who just dove all the way into the Christian rock scene and lots of Jars Of Clay, DC Talk, Amy Grant, and Nichole Nordeman, of course. She was an integral part of my faith as I was growing up.

I forgot to mention this when we actually did our interview, but one of her songs, a single called “Holy,” a beautiful worship song, we actually played at mine and Brian's wedding. It's just been a really big part of my life.

My best friend in the whole wide world growing up. We loved her and all those female Christian artists. We just looked up to them so much. We listened to her nonstop. We just love her. I told my friend, Juliette, that I was having her on. She was freaking out and was so excited. It's just a big deal, so I'm kind of nerding out today. I feel like Nichole is just such a specific part of my life. It's just funny and it's weird to be talking with her. I'm so excited!

Nichole is a Christian music artist. She has been for so long. She's just an amazing singer. She's also an incredible person. She handles being in the spotlight with such grace and I really admire her for that. She's a mother of two and now she's an author.

I have read over the last few weeks her book, Slow Down: Embracing the Everyday Moments of Motherhood. It is such a sweet read. If you're wanting to get back into reading after a break, if you've never really been a reader or you want a break from hitting the ground hard with self-help books and bettering yourself and all of those types of things, this is just a really great calm read.

It's one of those books you'd want to have on your bookshelf for all time to reference here and there when you need a reminder to really be present and just be with your kids. Nichole speaks so much grace in this episode. I love how she answers each question. It is so laced with grace and wisdom and this very calming vibe, for lack of a better word. This interview was great.

Let's welcome Nicole.

ALLIE: How are you today?

NICHOLE: Great. How are you today?

ALLIE: I'm so good. I'm on my fourth cup of coffee.

NICHOLE: Wow, that's impressive. I'm impressed.

ALLIE: It is my last day of work until a four-week break.

NICHOLE: That's so nice.

ALLIE: Yeah. I'm just in that place where I'm just tense and it's just been long, like constantly producing content. I just need a break.

NICHOLE: You’re crawling across the finish line right now with your coffee.

ALLIE: I'm so excited to have you here. You don't even know. You have been such a huge part of my life. Okay. The album, I think it was your second one where it's like your face and the wind is blowing your hair back.

NICHOLE: Um, yes there were a couple of fan-blowing covers as I recall.

ALLIE: If someone were to make a collage of “Allie’s growing up process” that photo of that album would have been on there because it was such a big part of my faith as I was getting older and right next to The Newsboys, DC talk.

NICHOLE: That's right. That's good company to keep.

ALLIE: Yeah. Oh my gosh. I just have to tell you this random story. (Daniel, if you want to edit this out, I won’t blame you.) Okay. So, when I was growing up, I really loved music and my parents really encouraged me to hear Christian music positives. And you were a huge part of that and, like I said, DC Talk. I started to want to go to concerts and my mom was like, “I'll take you,” but it was all like Jars Of Clay, and all of that.

And so, we went to this DC Talk concert and my mom is very extroverted, just the life of the party. She's a social butterfly. I’m like, “If I could just disappear...” That's why I like podcasting.

NICHOLE:  There's a nice little, safe, introvert buffer.

ALLIE:  Yes, exactly. And so, I'm there. I don't know how old I was, but I was young. Then all of a sudden three of the guys started to stage dive and go into the audience and I see Toby Mac coming up my aisle. I'm like, “No, I know what’s going to happen, no, no.” And my mom goes, “Oh my gosh, he’s coming. Touch him! Touch him!” We’re at a Christian concert. And she's like, “Touch him!” He comes up to the seat next to me and I'm just standing there and my mom shoves me over. I fall on the floor. And I remember looking up and Toby Mac just looking down at me and like “mouthing” because he didn't want his mic to pick up. {laughing} I just wanted to die! And that is the reason that I never saw you in concert because I did not want to go with my mom.

NICHOLE: Well and I don't do a lot of stage diving so that would not have been a problem for us. But that is such a great story and I hope you have the chance to tell him that story someday. That is amazing.

ALLIE: I hope so too. It was so embarrassing. So, I didn’t go to a lot of concerts after that with my mom.

NICHOLE: You’ll be talking about that in therapy for a while.

ALLIE: For sure! Oh my gosh. So, okay. So, you are a mom of two and you live in Tulsa, right?

NICHOLE: Yeah. I’m in Tulsa, Oklahoma as we speak.

ALLIE: We did a year of RV traveling with the kids and we got caught in the scariest storm.

NICHOLE: Storms do not play around in Oklahoma. It took me a little while to figure that out because I grew up in Colorado and I lived in Texas for a while and Nashville for a while, but nothing like… I've just never experienced insane weather like Oklahoma. It is not playing.

ALLIE: Yeah, it was scary. And being on the road and in the camper… But after the weather cleared, we liked it.

NICHOLE: Once things stop flying through the air, it's a nice place to live.

ALLIE: Totally. Okay. So, your book, which I have in front of me and have had in front of me recently because I read it… Slow Down. It's based on a song that you wrote while you were at your son’s elementary school?

NICHOLE: It was his 5th grade graduation. I offered to sing at this little graduation thing for his 5th grade class and then I sort of forgot about it - forgot that I'd offered. And so, the night before I was like, “Oh crap! I have to sing something in front of middle schoolers,” which is a fate worse than death already because that's terrifying.

I was just trying to figure out what to sing. And I ended up making the mistake of pulling out albums of when he was a baby and reminiscing, just a major meltdown, walk-through memory lane, and I just wrote this song. It literally just poured out of me the night before his little graduation. I thought that was going to be the whole life of the song right there, just for Charlie and his class and that would be the end of it. But it grew into something a little bit more.

ALLIE: Yeah, and so it went viral, which I feel like even viral is kind of an understatement. What, it had like 30 million views or just under that or something like that?

NICHOLE:  On Facebook it had 70 million views I think. It was crazy. You don't ever aim for something like that because you'll never hit it. It was just a freak thing. It was so fun because it made me feel like, “Yeah, this is such a universal thing that parents feel. This is all going too fast and I can't slow it down. How do I make the most of every tiny, tiny moment?”

ALLIE: Yeah, for sure. I'll put the link, for everyone listening, to the song, but it's rough.

It’s a tear jerker.

But your book is. I mean, I like it. It definitely is based on that but I love the action steps. We talked about that before we recorded. I’ll all about what are you going to do about this? How are you going to slow down and writing prompts, I guess, if you would describe it that way. So, I love it. It's so good.

But I wanted to ask you, how have you found ways to be “all there” and be present in the midst of the chaos?

NICHOLE: Yeah. And it doesn't stop being chaos. I remember a friend saying to me when I had little, little kids and they had older kids, I remember her saying, “You know, you end up trading physical exhaustion for emotional exhaustion.”

So, you're in that stage where it's, I haven't showered and it's diapers or it's toddlers or whatever, and you just think, “There's no end to this. I can't wait until they're more independent and grown up.” Then they are grown up and more independent and it takes on a whole other kind of chaos - a little bit of emotional chaos. Are we talking about important issues? Am I doing the right amount of balance between exposing them to “real world” and also sheltering them from stuff they don't need to be exposed to?

It's ongoing. I mean, I just think the chaos of motherhood is at every stage and age. I think sometimes for me self-compassion is a huge part of slowing down because I am a “type A” person. I like things a certain way. I have an idea in my head about how a moment should appear, whether it's a big moment like Christmas or a little moment like dinner around the picnic table outside, and I think just letting go of the standard is really important for me. Like this moment might not be exactly or at all like you thought it was going to be, and don't miss the beauty of that unraveling. Don't miss the goal that's in there just because it's not unfolding the way that you wanted it to, or the way your mom would have, or any of that stuff. Just have some self-compassion. You know what? It's okay. It's okay. It does not have to be perfect.

ALLIE: Yeah. It seems simple but it's really powerful. My daughter is getting a little older. She's nine. She's my oldest and my only girl, and I struggle with feeling like this has to be good cause she's my only girl…

And so, she wanted to go to Olive Garden, which I can eat basically nothing there. But we went there and I was thinking in my head on the drive, “This is going to be so great. We're going to talk about things that I want to talk about.” I was building up this expectation. We get there and I'm thinking she's been inching towards just getting ready for “the talk” and just how it all works. And so, I'm just wanting to pour into her.

All she wanted to talk about was horses and ponies, and the birthing process of horses, and how do you clean a hoof? I don't know if she thinks I'm a rancher but I was so irritated. It was ruining it.

She had to go the bathroom, and I'm standing in there and the Lord totally came over me and was like, “This is good. You don't want to hurry these big conversations. She's still interested in horses and ponies. Just be here for this because it's never going to come back.”

NICHOLE: That's so wise to recognize that and just shift your expectations, shift your focus instead of forcing a thing that was your anticipated moment and it didn't go as planned. I love that you just stayed open enough to let it become something else.

ALLIE: Yeah, and I love that you talk about that in the book too, that you're always waiting for the next thing. When are you going to be out of diapers? When are you going to eat solid food? Oh my gosh. Like my nipples. Please just stop.

NICHOLE: And when are you going to talk? When are you going to walk?

ALLIE: Yeah. I want to have girl talk. But you miss “right now” and it's so easy to get into that place. And then you said, ‘You've got these moments of pain, sadness and even guilt looking at photos and stuff. It's all going so fast. Wait a second, but you are the one who wanted to go to the next level.

NICHOLE: That's right. Yeah. When I first started having babies, I think there was Facebook, probably Twitter was just happening, but there wasn't this constant voyeurism of our lives. There wasn't Instagram. There wasn't Pinterest. There wasn't any of that. And I am thankful for that because I would have easily fallen into… it's soul death, I think, when we spend our lives lining ourselves up, our parenting up, and our children up with other people around us.

Even if it's in a celebratory way. Sometimes I can just scroll through Instagram and feel so bad about myself without even realizing it. About my appearance, about my kids, about my house, about my bank account, whatever it is. I think that's been a huge part of slowing down for me too, is just shutting that stuff down.

There's so much talk about making sure our kids are handling social media responsibly and that we're policing that and no one's policing us. What about us? Someone needs to be shutting my phone off and my computer off because it is so damaging, I think, to how we're living our lives.

ALLIE: Yeah, for sure. And social media has been around for a while, but recently it's really become this outlet for advertisements and promotions. First of all, peeps be creeping on me because they know what I looked at my Amazon recently. But I've noticed that it's so fear based. What will happen when you retire? It's easy on my tv to just turn it off or whatever. But now, on social media, it's everything you scroll through. Are you being present with your kids? Get this APP. It’s a lot of negative. I mean, it's there so it works, but…

NICHOLE: Obviously it works. You're right because the advertisers have had to try to find different avenues to sell their stuff because people aren't watching tv live much anymore. So, yeah, they're just sneaking it in anywhere they can. They're incredibly creative and subtle.

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

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.

The Supermom Vault is only $39.00 and is available at alliecasazza.com/allcourses.

Check it out! It’s a really good simple start.

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?

This is definitely the place to go!

Check it out!  Alliecasazza.com/allcourses.

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ALLIE: Okay. So, I wanted to ask you about one of my favorite things that you say in the book. I highlighted the crap out of it because it was amazing how you say it. Talk about saying “I don't know” in response to your kids. Can you talk about that?

NICHOLE: Yeah. You know, I think that because I grew up in the church and I grew up in a Christian home and I was always really involved in church life, Christian culture, (I went to a Christian school for all of my education) I didn't hear a lot of uncertainty from my parents, from my pastors or teachers. There was always this approach to teaching me, whether it was in my home, in school, or church, that was like, “This is how it is. This is what the Bible says.” If this is the question, this is the answer. It was just so linear and I really was drawn to that because I'm sort of a linear person. And then, like so many of us, I get launched out into the real world. For me that was college.

I was completely unprepared to have a real conversation with real people about faith or about anything really because I had a script and if you didn't follow my script then I didn't know how to engage you. So, I learned the hard way the value of saying “I don't know,” because there are a lot of question marks. There's a lot of “gray” and I know this is an uncomfortable place for people who are Christians.

But I have found that in having real conversations with my kids when they want to ask me something that I don't understand, instead of just knee-jerking and pointing to a scripture or distracting with an anecdote or whatever, the coping skills that we do, I have just found there's tremendous strength and just saying “I don't really know.”

You know, there's big questions about creation, heaven, death and sorrow. I've got a 14-year-old and we're having conversations about sexuality, and there's a lot there that sometimes I lead when I can and I'm concrete when I can be. And a lot of times I just say, “I'm not really sure. I'm still learning about that too. Let's find out together. Let's keep asking questions.” I think that creates a much safer space than “It is what it is” you know?

ALLIE: Yeah. And it's a good diffuser too, as an adult talking to other adults, especially with Christianity and all that's going on. Everyone freaking out about so many things. You know, we don't all have to claim that we know and point beautiful scripture at each other, like daggers.

It's so powerful to get into that practice. I really liked how you said that. I think I was thinking about it. Bella's nine, but my boys are still little, my youngest is three, and I think I was noticing that the lack of “I don't know” comes from the questions that the little ones are asking. How do these Lego’s connect together? How do they make Legos? Well, they have a mold and they make it out of plastic, and so you do kind of know everything. And so, it kind of feels weird. It really is kind of all of a sudden. I don't know. It feels really humbling to say that to them.

NICHOLE: Yes. But think about how much more your kids will feel such an open door with you as they grow older and they are coming home from school or having conversations with their peers or whatever. They are really looking for transparency and honesty from you instead of just a regurgitated thing that they probably have heard a million times. I think that creates a lot of room for growth and it says “you're safe here not knowing. We can not know together.”

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely. It just cultivates so much honesty and realness. I love that.

Can I ask you, aside from motherhood, how do you slow down for your own self? Self-care is kind of overused, but have you found that you translated this over to your own self at all?

NICHOLE: I try. I'm a mom. I'm an artist. I run a business. I run a home. There are days when it's just a complete disaster. It's just all garbage. And I would say I have no balance whatsoever. There are those days for sure.

But I think for me it's tiny moments. It's not like, “You know what? I need to book a spa day.” Okay. That's just not happening. It's just not happening in my life. I'm not booking a spa day. That's not time for myself. It's more like “I need 10 minutes - 10 minutes to walk around the block and just find center again.” Find myself again, take a deep breath.

For me, reading is huge and has been replaced so often by Netflix and TV shows. I always default to that now, and I used to default to books all the time. I'm trying to gravitate more towards reading. I feel like that's really good for my psyche and my spirit. It's calming, quiet, and it's not information in my face.

ALLIE: Well, it’s productive too, relaxing. You just feel better.

NICHOLE: Yeah, it's just little things. I love cooking. I love trying new recipes. Being in my kitchen with a glass of wine and making something new out of a cookbook is probably my favorite place to be ever. So, it's little stuff. Sometimes I'm great at it and other times I'm terrible at it.

ALLIE: Yeah. That's the best answer. It's hard when I asked that question and somebody has this elaborate, amazing answer. It sounds amazing but…

It’s just something little like taking the kids for a drive and putting the music up so they can't talk. Having a second. Something like that. We can all fit that in.

So, back to your book as we just kind of wrap up. I didn't know that it had other people in it too. It was really cool to read. It was like getting mommy advice from Shauna Niequist, Jen Hatmaker, Patsy Clairmont, Amy Grant. It was so great to read. Then you've got from you, your different “Hey, remember to slow down moments” from your own motherhood.

So, who was your favorite to have in there?

NICHOLE: Those are all friends of mine who were in the book and they are all also moms that I really admire. All those ladies have kids, you know? Amy Grant’s got a 30-year-old, and Natalie Grant has a 5-year-old. Those are all mothers that I really admire and I've been on tour with most of them.

Sitting in a tour bus or backstage, that's always what we ended up talking about is our kids. I just feel like over the years I've gleaned so much wisdom from those gals. I think it was just really powerful for me to get to kind of pick the best little nuggets that I could find from all those conversations and share them in this book. And I was so incredibly grateful and humbled that they would take the time to share as well.  

ALLIE: Yeah. And they're short and pointed, but like, “wow, that was a little truth bomb” in each one.

NICHOLE: Yes. Great little truth bombs all over for sure.

ALLIE: Okay. So, for someone listening who has maybe not had this realization of slowing down or has had it but didn't know what to do with it, how can we start to press pause and slow down?

NICHOLE: My mantra has really been “lower the bar.” I'm so tired of self-improvement things, books, podcasts, blogs. I feel like everybody is out to make more organized, thinner, happier, and whatever the thing is. And there's a space for all of that and I think it's great. But for me, lowering the bar in all areas of my life has just been so liberating.

I'm just not going to stress if it's not homemade. I am all about store bought. I'm all about being in the moment and not presenting a moment for everyone else. I did that for so many years where I would get to the end of a birthday party or Christmas and be like, “Well, I think that was awesome for everyone except me,” because you're just so busy creating a moment for other people.

So, I think maybe something concrete would be to make a list of all the areas in which you feel like you are barely keeping your head above water and then lower it by about 10 percent. Just lower the standard. Lower the expectations. Nobody dies. Everybody's just fine.

ALLIE: Yeah. It's okay to say “no.” It's okay to change your mind.

NICHOLE: It's more than okay. It's so important. It's such good modeling for our kids, for our children to hear us say, “I'm so sorry. I don't have room on my plate for that. I wish I did, but “no” has to be my firm answer.” That is huge modeling for them to learn how not to model the frayed, frantic mom who's spread so thin, serving and giving and just does everything for everyone else.

I don't want to model that for my kids. I want them to be servants and have giving hearts without giving up boundaries. I never had that growing up. So, I say just lower the standards and enjoy your life a lot more.

NICHOLE: Yeah, absolutely. Oh, I love that. Okay, so we're going to leave you guys there with those action steps.

We will link to the video for Slow Down (and the link also to some Kleenex on Amazon) and Nicole's amazing book. Guys, it's so good. It was such a sweet, easy read and just, oh my gosh, every page I read I just wanted to put it down and go sit on the floor with my kids. It was so good. Mission accomplished with what you were trying to do here. It is so good.

NICHOLE: I appreciate that. That means a lot to me. Thank you.

ALLIE: Thank you so much for your time and this awesome interview. I hope I will talk to you again.

NICHOLE: I do too and enjoy your break. Oh my gosh. You are actually going to slow down. You're really doing it.

ALLIE: I read this book over the last three weeks in bits and pieces and it was just like, “oh my gosh.” But I knew it was coming already and I just had to plug through, you know? You know how that is. You can’t just say “I need a break” and walk away. You have to plan it.

So, I knew it was coming and I'm just like, “Oh my gosh, I am so excited to breathe and not do all the things.”

NICHOLE: Good for you, girl. I'm happy for you.

ALLIE: Yeah. All right. Thank you.


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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 039: 13 Ways to Bring Peace into Your Home

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Everybody wants a peaceful home. I don’t think anybody would say, “I don’t want a peaceful home.” There’s two different sides of a peaceful home. One is intentionally setting your home up to be peaceful. But then sometimes, there is just stress. How can you, in the middle of a stressful day or tense afternoon, create a peaceful atmosphere? In this episode we’re going to cover both types of bringing peace into your home. I have worked really hard to set up a home that feels peaceful. In the way that I decorate. The way it’s laid out. The way I act as a mom. I have also come up with a handful of in-the-middle-of-stress peacemakers. Take a step back and ask yourself, “How do you feel when you walk into your home?” Take note of it. What could you change? What is it that you don't like? You should like the way you feel when you walk in the house!

 
 

In This Episode, Allie Discusses:

  • The impact a peaceful home has on you and those who come into your home.

  • How to give your kids the gift of a home they can live in by finding a balance between a home that’s too kid-friendly and the mom hates it, or not kid-friendly at all and the kids hate it.

  • How to intentionally plan for peacefulness around usually stressful times.

  • Setting phone boundaries that create a peaceful home by fostering family time.

  • The tone that you, as the mom, can set in the middle of stressful situations.

  • Practical ways you can create a peaceful atmosphere in the middle of stressful situations.

Mentioned in this Episode:

 

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I put together a FREE checklist for you guys called “13 Ways To Bring Peace Into Your Home.”

It will help you find ways to set up a peaceful home as well as give you ideas when you are “in the middle of stress.". If you feel like your house is getting really tense and your family really needs some peace, look at your fridge, get this checklist! I know it will help bring peace to your home!  


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 The Purpose Show.

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Hey friends! I wanted to say I had to do the beginning of this episode five times and that’s never happened before. I usually hit record and I’m good, but I don’t know. I feel like I sounded weird, overly annoyingly cheerful. And then I said “Hey guys” and I started rambling about nothing. It was weird. I’m off today. Anyway…

This episode is all about how to bring peace into your home and set up a peaceful home. I’m really looking forward to sharing this with you. I think everybody wants a peaceful home. I don’t think anybody would say, “I don’t want a peaceful home.” I think my care, my deliberate action to create a peaceful home came from a few years ago when I started to really work on not yelling, which is a constant struggle for me. Just to give you guys some hope, if you also struggle with yelling, it does get easier. But it’s still a struggle.

A few years ago, I challenged myself to not yell at all for 30 days. Of course, I messed up. I did yell and had to correct it. But the point is it brought awareness how I often I turned to yelling as a solution, which in fact, is not a solution at all. It actually makes things worse. I really dealt with the fact that I go there really quickly… a lot. I think one thing that I saw was that my yelling wrecked all the peace in our home. When I do stumble and fall back into that habit, I notice again now. It kills all peace in our home.

It makes the people in our home anxious. It makes me anxious. It makes the whole house feel tense like we are on eggshells and just… anxious. That is the opposite of peace.

I have worked hard to set up a home that feels peaceful. In the way that I decorate. The way it’s laid out. The way I act as a mom. I have also come up with a handful of in-the-middle-of-stress peacemakers.

There’s two different sides of a peaceful home. One is intentionally setting your home up to be peaceful. But then sometimes, there is just stress. How can you, in the middle of a stressful day or tense afternoon, create a peaceful atmosphere? We’re going to come at this from both sides.

There are things you can do to set up a peaceful home. But maybe you find yourself in the thick of a stressful afternoon or something in your home. It feels anything but peaceful, even though you’ve set it up that way and you need some in-the-moment tips for creating some peace in your house.

In this episode we’re going to cover both types of bringing peace into your home. We’re going to start with ways to intentionally set up a peaceful home originally.

Let’s say you’re listening to this episode. It’s not a stressful moment right now. When you finish listening, you want to set up your home to be more peaceful. These are those kind of things; not the in the middle of stress things yet.

First, use décor that makes you feel the most at home, relaxed, and happy to be there. I’ve said this before that when I walk into my home, even it it’s a really busy day and it’s not perfectly clean, I feel like it’s a breath of fresh air every time I walk in. I love every room. Even the rooms that aren’t quite finished yet in terms of decorating. I just love my home.

I have created a home that is perfect for me. It makes me happy and relaxed. It feels lived-in and functional, but still beautiful and stylish. It reflects my personality. I don’t really purchase things to decorate my home with, unless they are really amazing and “my favorite” and I love it that way. Everything in my home just makes me really happy. That is so important.

A lot of the time we just go off of like what was on sale, what was handed down to us and given to us, we don't want to waste and we'll just use it. Really though? Is it better to have things that are functional and don't actually make us really happy?

I think it would be better to go slowly and maybe not have a house as super decorated, but to slowly wait and as your budget allows purchase things that really make you light up. This doesn't have to be extravagant or expensive. Most of my stuff is from Ikea, Target, or World Market, which are all really cheap places to get house stuff. The fact is that I love all of those things. It can be slow and budget friendly, but don't just get something for the heck of it.

Even back when we really didn't have any money (Episode 6), I loved my home. I didn't love it as much as I love it now because money changes a lot of things and you can do more. But I did love it. I didn’t just get whatever the heck and not care.  

I carefully thrifted for pieces that I loved and I repurposed them to make them more beautiful and more modern to fit my taste. I waited and I saved and got bookshelves that I thought were really beautiful.

Take a step back and ask yourself, “How do you feel when you walk into your home?” Take note of it. What maybe could you change? What is it that you don't like? Do you not like the way it's decorated? Do you feel like you don't even know how to decorate? Educate yourself. Figure out a way to make it happen. You should like the way you feel when you walk in the house. I think decor is a big part of that because it's so visual.

The next tip I have is to handle your entryway. Some homes have an “official entryway,” whether it’s a mudroom or whatever. My home does not have one of those, but I’ve created an entryway.  Whatever you are standing in when you first walk through your front door, set that up. It's the first thing you see when you walk in the door. Everything should have a place. It should be functional and work well for you, but also be pretty, well-lit, minimalistic, clean and clear of clutter so that you walk in and the first thing you see is good.

Now it's kind of tricky in my house because when you walk in the front door, if you're standing straight and looking straight ahead, you're staring down a hallway that shows you the entire front room and goes into the kitchen/family room area. It's a straight shot.

It's important to me that I keep that whole area clear of clutter. I'll post a picture in the show notes so you can see exactly what I'm talking about. I have this vintage mid-century modern console that I got for like $25 on Craigslist three and a half years ago. Super, super crazy find. It has a stamp underneath it from the furniture store that it was originally from and it says 1969 or something crazy old like that. It's amazing. We painted it a little bit and repurposed it.

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It’s a nine-drawer console on the left side (if you're standing in my front door looking down that front hallway) of the wall underneath my bicycle art. And that is a place where I can keep things that need to be downstairs in our main area, like sunglasses and keys. There’s a drawer for mail that we need to sift through and things like that. It's functional.

We keep Emmett's pull ups in there, because he wears a pull-up to nap and go to bed still, and things that we need to grab and put in the diaper bag. We have a diaper bag/ backpack/purse packing station there. It's a really great functional piece of furniture.

I would say about 60-70% of the drawers are empty because we don't need nine drawers, but I love that piece of furniture. I really wanted to have it in the front room so I could see it all the time. It works really, really well for us and helps keep that front area clear of clutter. There's really no reason for things to be sat on top of the ledge by the door or sat on top of the console. There's drawers and they each have a purpose. It helps us with functionality.

Figure out a way. Do you come in through the garage? Do you come in through the back door? Do you come in through the front door? What do you and your family use as your main door? Where were you coming in from running errands and setting your keys down? Make that section of your home really functional, pretty and clear of clutter for yourself, so the first thing you see when you walk in is clear. That's really going to help you set up a peaceful existence in your home.

Another thing is giving your kids the gift of a home that they can live in. I think there's these two big opposite ends of the spectrum that moms typically fall under. One end of the spectrum is a home feels way too kid friendly. There's kid stuff everywhere. There's really no décor. There’s just the kid’s stuff – the toy kitchen, toy bins, kids’ books, homeschool stuff. It takes over the house. It's very kid friendly, but the mom hates it. The mom feels like she's lost herself, she has no decorative style, and she doesn't really love being there.

Or on the other end of the spectrum, it's like a kid doesn't even live there. It's really stylish and perfectly clean. Everything is hidden away. It’s magazine status. It's beautiful, but it doesn't feel like you can cozy up with a book on the couch and enjoy it.

I think there's a balance between the two. This is one area where I feel, “OK, yes, I found it for myself,” so I love decorating. If I wasn't doing what I'm doing now, I think I would either own a flower shop or be doing something with decorating, because I love to decorate. My style is very important to me. It's important to me that I love my home when I walk in. But I don't want my house to feel so perfect and so beautiful that the kids are afraid to touch anything.

This is one reason that I don't buy high-end furniture. I'd rather have juice spilled on a $300 couch than an $1,800 one. I would rather feel, “It's OK; it's not the end of the world.” Even if it was an $1,800 one it still isn’t the end of the world, but you know what I'm saying. I have Ikea couches so that I can take the covers off and throw them in the washing machine, so spills and greasy fingers, stains and things like that just come right out.

I think there's a way to mix functionality with style and having a beautiful home that you love, that you're proud to show off, that you're proud to host things. Anytime I'm at church and an event comes up, I offer a host it. I love inviting friends over. I love my home. I love being here. I love hosting ladies’ nights and I love having other couples over for dinner. I love, love, love it because I feel confident about my home. It reflects my personality. I think it's one of the most beautiful places in the world and I did that. I styled that myself and I love it.

Decorating is one of my gifts and I love using it to create a beautiful home to where I can have people over. But, I don't want my kids to grow up remembering, “Mom wouldn't let us sit on the sofa in the front room. I wasn't allowed to do anything anywhere. My stuff always had to be put away upstairs.” I don't want them to feel like that.

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For example, (and I'll also share a picture of this to show you what I'm talking about) I have my kid’s toy kitchen. My kids used to have a toy kitchen way back before we moved across the country. When we were moving it was something we had gotten rid of. We really didn't bring anything when we moved to Arkansas. Now we are back in California, we're settled, our traveling spurt is done and we're here. My kids were saying that they would love to have a toy kitchen. And so, we got one for Christmas one year. Technically, it was for Emmett, but everybody plays with it.  

It was less than a hundred bucks. I found it on Amazon. It's white. It's cute and vintage, yet modern looking. I got it because it matches the house. I put it downstairs in the main room for two reasons. Number one, I like it when my kids are around me. I want there to be kid’s stuff in my house. That's why I incorporate my kids’ artwork with my décor. Because I want it to feel like kids live here. I like it when my kids are with me. They play in the toy kitchen while I'm in the real kitchen, making meals and stuff. I just think it's really fun and imaginative and I love that they wanted a toy kitchen back.

I put it in the main room. You can see it when you open the front door. It's one of the first things you see down that hallway. It's right in the middle of the family room and the kitchen. It’s in the main part of my house and I put a little collage of photos above it. Um, there's a big Fiddily Fig right next to it. I made it really cute. I incorporated functionality and kid stuff into my décor.

So instead of going and getting a toy kitchen that was cheap, but I thought was really ugly, I balanced it out. I got one that I thought was really cute that goes with my house décor and I put it in a main area. It's functional and the kids love it. They use it every single day. It doesn't look awful and it still ties in with my house.

That's a good example of how you can find a balance between this home that’s way too kid-friendly and the mom hates it, or not kid-friendly at all and the kids hate 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.

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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.

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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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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Another great idea that I see all the time is putting a big whiteboard on the wall or painting a wall with chalkboard paint, so the kids can color. Plus, this is a great way to discourage super little ones from drawing on your walls. You can find ways to bring in kid functionality and the fun stuff that comes with having kids without sacrificing the home that you love.

Another way that you can bring peace into your home is find a solution to the things that are regularly stressing you out in your home. For example, we had lived in one-story houses for a long time and our current house now is two-stories. I noticed pretty quickly the whole debacle of “this is downstairs, but it belongs upstairs.” Am I seriously supposed to go all the way upstairs and put this away every single time I find something misplaced? That’s not going to work for me.

I tried it for a while, you know, “just get it done,” but, No, it's unrealistic. It doesn't work for me. I'm not doing that. It created a pile of things that belonged upstairs at the bottom of the stairs every day and it was really ugly. I found a regular dark wicker basket that goes with my décor. It’s a super simple, big, rectangle one that has a lid. I put it in the empty space on the wall by my stairs. That basket is for anything that is downstairs that belongs upstairs. Now at the end of every day we take the lid off, we carry the basket upstairs and everybody puts their things away. Super simple. It's a new rhythm that we have developed.

It took away the stress; it took away the mess. No matter how minimalistic you are, if there's people, human bodies living in your house, you're going to have stuff around. Sometimes something gets used downstairs that actually belongs upstairs and needs to be taken up. It's not a big deal. It doesn't mean you have a bunch of clutter you have to get rid of. It just means that you need a system. This gave us a simple system. The basket looks pretty and hides random things that need to be put away upstairs.

Now every night we take it up. It’s part of our nightly cleanup routine. We put things away, put the empty basket back downstairs for the next day. Little things like that.

Sometimes you don't think outside of your box and you don't realize there's such a simple solution that would help you so much. That would free up your time and make you like your house better. That basket, as simple as it was, really helped and brought some peace into our home in this one small area that was causing a lot of stress.

Another way to set up a peaceful home is flowers. I personally love to always have fresh flowers in my house. I have a couple of vases I love and I swap them out on my kitchen sink. I do not like to do the dishes and I don't particularly love cooking either, so one way that I helped myself is by making myself love my kitchen.

I take extra care. I put extra thought and budget into making my kitchen a place that I love. I have an amazing fridge that makes my life a lot easier. I bought my favorite color Kitchenaid. I bought a cute cookie jar and a cute little storage jar for my coffee beans and stuff on the counter. Everything that I have in there is my favorite. Another thing I do is keep fresh flowers in the vase by the sink. When I'm doing the dishes and prepping meals, I have fresh flowers because I love flowers. Every Sunday when we go to the store I stop at Trader Joe's and I grab a fresh bouquet of flowers.

Now if that's not in your budget, you could get fake flowers. I actually have always hated fake flowers because I feel like they always look fake. But lately I've noticed they're really upping their game. I was at Ikea and I found some beautiful fake Peonies. I bought a big bunch of them and a beautiful hand blown vase and I keep that in my bedroom. My bedroom doesn’t get a ton of light and flowers would die up there. But I like having them there when I'm getting ready in the morning. Now every morning I see a fresh bouquet of one of my favorite types of flowers. That’s actually what's on my arm, my half sleeve, is Peonies. I love them.

I see them every morning when I'm finding my outfit for the day, getting dressed and getting ready. They reflect off the mirror when I'm taking a shower so I can literally see them all the time. They're beautiful. They don't look super fake. They are there all the time and don't require a lot of care from me.

In some way, shape or form, flowers can really brighten up your home. And they do make for a more peaceful environment. It's a gift they do.

Another thing you can do is diffuse essential oils or light candles or something. I have a diffuser that I will link to. I got it off of Amazon and it was pretty cheap. I think it was like $25 or less. It's wooden and it totally goes with my mid-centuryish décor. I keep it on that console that I was telling you about earlier in the front hall of my house. Pretty much all day, every day I set it to “on”, to run until it runs out of water. I put distilled water in it, add some essential oil drops in there and I just diffuse all day.

It's in the main area of the house. You can smell it anywhere you are downstairs; sometimes even upstairs too. I really liked the Stress Away Oil from Young Living. Sometimes I'll diffuse Geranium oil or something that smells really springy and fresh. I'll do Wellness Oils if it's flu season or we're battling some sickness or something. I always have that going. Seeing the steam and smelling the oils, really does create a more peaceful atmosphere.

I know somebody too that has like oil diffuser. She has candles lit. She has incense burning all the time. That’s a little too much for my senses, personally, but it does create peace. There's all these different beautiful smells in her house. They all go really well together.

I also have a Sensi warmer. I'm not a huge fan of Sensi, but occasionally I will put a wax thing in there and let that go. It is a really overwhelming smell. If you want your house to smell really good, really quickly, that works great.

Intentionally planning for peacefulness around times that are usually stressful is huge. If you want to set your home up to be peaceful you have to think ahead. What are usually the most stressful times of day? Maybe it's when you're making dinner. Maybe it's when the kids first come home from school. Maybe it's the morning. Maybe it's the last hour that you have to get work done before you go and pick up the kids from school. Whatever it is. Whatever they are. It doesn't have to be one time; it could be all of those things. Intentionally look ahead and plan for peacefulness around those times.

Play worship music. Play instrumental music. Play acoustic music. Light candles during those times. Maybe take a minute and go in a closet or the bathroom or somewhere and just sit for a second and focus on your breathing. Consciously do a quick standing meditation for 5-10 minutes before those times. Get yourself in a place of peace because we reflect what we're feeling on our kids and our families and they tend to follow how we're feeling. I think there is something to be said about intentionally planning for peacefulness around those times that tend to be tense and stressful.

And then the last thing of ways to set up a peaceful home is to get your phone boundaries in place. Phone boundaries make for a peaceful home by fostering family time. There was a whole episode done on phone settings for a present life and I'll link to that in the show notes. I would encourage you to look at how much you're using your phone. It's going to create stress if your kids feel like you're always looking down at your phone.

If you're busy getting the kids ready to start doing homework while you start dinner before you go to baseball, and your phone is making sounds for text messages, that's going to add stress.

Put your phone in its place. It's on the back burner. It's not the main event, right? You can have your phone settings set up so your phone will ring for phone calls but not make other sounds. You can a have set time and place where you check your text messages and

Instagram. It is totally doable. If I can do it, you can do it.

A big part of my job is social media. I have set times of the day when I set my timer for 15 to 20 minutes and I answer Instagram comments, or look at text messages. When that timer goes off, it's done. I put it down until the next time of day. It's maybe 30 minutes a day for Instagram, because that's a big part of my job and I love connecting with you all. That's the only place in social media that I really give daily time. Facebook, text messages, and other stuff is less than that.

Putting it in its place will create such an atmosphere of peace because you're focused on your family. You're available to answer questions and talk to them about their day and be there without being distracted.

How many times have you been trying to finish a text message and your kid is talking to you? They're asking you questions, saying “Mom!” and you're like, “What? Hold on.” Did that really have that much of a higher priority than your kid? Probably not. I am guilty of the same thing.

When we put our phone in its place, it creates a more peaceful atmosphere by fostering families.

OK, let's focus on the “in the middle of stress” peacemaker ideas. This is a handful of ideas to help you when you're in the moment. You're in the middle of a tense, stressful situation in your home. Your home feels like, “Ah! I don't want my home to feel like this. What's going on?” Here are some things you can do in those moments when you maybe didn't set up your home to be peaceful before or maybe you did but sometimes you need more than that.

In the middle of stress I think it's important to realize that as the mom, you set the tone. If you have to “fake it till you make it or fake it till you feel it,” that works.

By the way, I'm reading Gretchen Rubin's A Happiness Project and there's a whole section of that in here. “Fake it till you feel it” works. How do you want to feel? Pretend you feel that way and you eventually will. It's amazing.

Or do something that can help you calm down quickly. Remember the standing meditation? Go in the closet, plug your ears, focus on your breathing for just a minute. Come out and feel lighter. Then start acting out of that calm and your family will follow your lead.

Play calming music. Maybe you didn't have it set up that way before, but just change it now. Turn on what does it for you. Classical worship, acoustic playlist on Spotify, whatever it is, just call a timeout. Turn on some calming music on your speaker in your house. If you don't have one, I would highly suggest you get one. I have Alexa; she's amazing. There's lots of different speakers that amplify the level of music in your house.

Music is used in therapy so much. There's a reason for that. It affects your mood. This isn't like a tip I added in here to fill this episode. This is legit and it totally changes things. Play calming music.

Another tip is to create a calm atmosphere. In that moment, what does that look like? Maybe you need to open the windows. Maybe you need to air the house out, diffuse those oils, light those candles, put that music on.

Maybe you need to open the front door and let the air in. Maybe you need say to everyone, “Let's just take a time out. Let’s do the dishes real quick, do a five-minute pickup and then come back to homework after this.”  Is it a mess, and you just are overwhelmed and you need to kind of clear some of that clutter so you can focus on the stressful task at hand? What is it going to take to create that calm atmosphere in the moment?

And speaking of that, that's the other tip: clear the surface clutter. It has a direct effect on your brain and everyone's mood. Here's my empty-hamper trick. Get an empty hamper and go through downstairs or wherever you guys are spending your time right now, and clear the surfaces. Get all the clutter off the countertops, tabletops, coffee table, side table, couch, and put it in that hamper. Roll it out of the room and put it away for later. You can go through it and put things away later that night. Clearing the surface clutter really changes your mood.

And I think the last thing I want to say is in the middle of stress, to create some peace, maybe consider if at all possible, taking a break from whatever is expected right now. For example, if your kids are doing homework and there is bickering, crying, overwhelm or tension in the household while that's going on, take a break from homework time. Even just two minutes. Have a dance party or let them go up to their room and have some alone time to unwind.

Don't let the day's time limits or stresses run your family. It can wait. You can be flexible at least a little bit.

There is a checklist that I've put together for you guys. I'm actually looking at it right now. It’s all the points that I covered written out for you to print out and put on your fridge. “13 Ways To Bring Peace Into Your Home.” What an amazing thing to have sitting on your fridge so you can look at it and be reminded all the time.

It's divided into two sections: ways to set up a peaceful home and then “in the middle of stress” peacemaker ideas. If you feel like your house is getting really tense and your family really needs some peace, look at your fridge, look at these ideas and do one of them or all of them.

You can download that in the show notes and that is alliecasazza.com/shownotes/39. You’ll find all of that there. You'll find the links to those pictures of my house. I told you about the link of a diffuser that I use and the link to download that free checklist.

I encourage you guys to not lose hope. Those certain times of day don't have to feel as stressful as they always do. You can create peace there for sure.

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This was an episode of The Purpose Show.  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, head to alliecasazza.com for free downloads, courses, classes and to learn more about what the next step might look like for you.  I am always rooting for you. See ya next time!

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

 

Ep 038: Compassionate + Effective Parenting with Wendy Snyder

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Like adults, kids need to feel like they belong. They need to feel powerful. They need to feel loved unconditionally, and they need to feel like they're valued. Compassionate + Effective Parenting (or Positive Parenting) is a style of parenting that highlights our kids’ needs so that they feel powerful, loved, and valued.

This parenting style helps us understand that when kids’ needs aren't met, it comes out as misbehavior. Misbehavior equals communication. When our kids are misbehaving, they're not just out to get us. They're not trying to tick us off. They are not trying to be naughty. Is it a part of their development to push boundaries? Absolutely. However, when we see it as communication and we try to help them communicate that in a healthy way, parenthood becomes more joyful. It becomes more about connection over correction. It becomes more about relationships and strengthening our day-to-day interaction with our kids.

Wendy Snyder is a Positive Parenting Coach who dedicates her life to helping parents navigate parenting through compassion. Because it does beautiful things for families, and it does amazing things for kids too. She brings so much wisdom to the table in this episode! Enjoy!

 
 

In This Episode, Allie + Wendy Discuss:

  • What led Wendy to become interested in Positive Parenting.

  • How Positive Parenting correlates with communication.

  • The ways Positive Parenting can be effective from toddlers to teenagers.  

  • The power of Positive Parenting with a strong willed child.  

  • Ways you can prevent and handle those big toddler tantrums.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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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. Check it out! It’s a really good simple start. 


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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 The Purpose Show.

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Hey ladies! Welcome back to another episode of The Purpose Show! I am so looking forward to opening the floor and sharing today's guest with you guys!

Wendy Snyder is here and she is the founder of freshstartfamilyonline.com. Thank you so much for being here with us. I can't wait to dive in. I have so many things that I'm excited to hear from you and ask you. Thank you for taking time to be here with us.

WENDY: Yeah, thank you so much for having me, Allie. I really admire what you're doing and the community you're building, so I am grateful and humbled to be here.

ALLIE: I actually got a chance to meet Wendy on Saturday (at the time of this recording.) I don't know when this episode will air at the time right now.

We were together a few days ago and we went to the Macramé Making Class together and it was super fun and nice. Wendy lives near me and we were able to connect. She has the sweetest personality. She's a really warm, amazing person. You're one of those people that I want to have multiple coffee dates with and talk with you.

It was nice to hear your philosophy on parenting. We had talked about this at the class. It’s rare to find somebody that's in that place, especially as a Christian parent, where it's very much “spare the rod, spoil the child” and get to talk with you about compassionate parenting that works. It was so refreshing. I'm really excited to amplify your message by pulling you onto my platform and opening my listeners’ ears to all the good stuff that you have to share.

If you don't mind, I'll just let you dive right in and share your background and your story.

WENDY: Absolutely. Well, first of all, let me tell you a little bit about how I came to work and my backstory. I got super lucky and blessed young. I fell in love with my husband and my best friend, love of my life at 17.

We moved across country from Maryland to California. We set out to have careers in the surf industry. We set our goals. We felt like at that point in our life, if we set out to do something, we could accomplish it. We felt like a great team and life was going great. We were able to build really great careers that we were so grateful for.

And then we had kids and quickly realized that parenthood was definitely the hardest job that we had ever had in our entire lives. We were really surprised by how hard it was to influence little human souls to do what you want of them. And especially because we had been gifted and blessed with a really strong-spirited little girl.

When I decided to leave my career and stay home with my kids, I had been in the surf industry for a decade and really loved what I was doing.

And I thought leaving and coming home and being with my kids full time was going to be dreamy. We were going to be on the beach. It was going to be like, “Ahh!” I quickly realized that I was thrown into the day-to-day life of navigating toddlerhood and the many challenges that come along with that. I also had a colicky baby at the time and I was challenged to my core.

Every day was filled with time-outs and punishments and I just didn't know what to do to get this little girl to listen and behave. I thought at the time that I was supposed to get control of her. Thank God I found the work of Positive Parenting during that really dark valley of my parenting life where my days were really filled with depression and anxiety. I just could not believe that this is what parenthood had become.

I was exposed to Positive Parenting. I started taking a class called “Redirecting Children's Behavior,” which is one of the programs I'm now certified to teach. It brought the light back to my day. It enabled me to see my little girl in a whole new light and start to be able to seek to see the integrity in her.

Before long we started practicing the work in our home and she started to respond. You could just tell this little girl's spirit reacted so much better when we learned new ways of working with her that were respectful, kind and compassionate instead of focusing on how to force her to change or trickery about how to get her to do what we wanted.

It was solid work. I became so intrigued with it. I ended up taking this course seven times before I became a parent educator of it. It took me a while to become fluent in the language. I'm so happy that I hung in there. Seven years later, my daughter is 10 and my son is seven. Gosh, the seeds that this type of curriculum plants in families and it's planted in our lives are now, they've just blossomed.

For example, with my daughter, the relationship I have with her is rock solid. I look at her every day and thank God for her because it's just changed my whole perspective on humanity, let alone parenthood.

The work is incredible and I can't say enough nice things about it. I love teaching parents this work because, it does beautiful things for families and it does amazing things for kids to.

ALLIE: Thank you for sharing all of that. OK, I have so many questions!

Can you tell me a little bit more about what you called it, the work of positive parenting?

WENDY: Yeah. A backstory on the work. Positive parenting is really based on positive psychology. The “grandfather” of this work was derived from a child psychiatrist by the name of Dr. Rudolph Dreikurs, who is a renowned child psychologist from the 50’s who wrote a book called Children, The Challenge. He was ahead of his time with the way he saw children. He studied their development and helped parents to understand what's behind their misbehavior, which is all based on our needs.

Kids, just like adults, need to feel like they belong. They need to feel powerful. Feeling powerful is actually a really healthy need that we need people to be comfortable with and figuring out how to be strong leaders with integrity, right? They need to feel loved unconditionally, and they need to feel like they're valued.

Dr. Rudolph Dreikurs helps us to understand that when these kids’ needs aren't met, so to speak, it comes out as misbehavior. Parents are taught to become detectives and start to try to understand that misbehavior equals communication.

When our kids are misbehaving, they're not just out to get us. They're not trying to tick us off. They are not trying to be naughty. Is it a part of their development to push boundaries? Absolutely. However, when we see it as communication and we try to help them communicate that in a healthy way, parenthood becomes more joyful. It becomes more about connection over correction. It becomes more about relationships and strengthening our day-to-day interaction with our kids.

From his positive psychology, so many amazing programs have come about from his work. Redirecting Children's Behavior and The Joy of Parenting are the two programs that I'm a certified parent educator in. However, now there's Positive Discipline, there's Mindful Discipline, there is Jesus, The Gentle Parent. There’s so many programs out there now.

Parents really have a choice with how they work with their kids. There's so many ways to learn more about this work and that wasn't always the case. I love that parents can now go to the library or the bookstore and find just as many books that will teach them how to work with their kids using positive psychology, seeking the integrity in them, pointing out the good qualities about their kids, guiding them towards the light versus the other stuff.

ALLIE: Right. Yeah, absolutely. One thing that I wanted to ask you about, and we had discussed this on Saturday when we were together, was we're both Christians. Being “in the church,” I guess for lack of a better term, very much the prominent belief is you're kind of off on your own if you're not “a spanker,” if you're not that harsh. Like I said, “spare the Rod, spoil the child” belief. You approached me and when my assistant sent me over your stuff, I was just kinda like, “oh boy, parenting. Here we go.” Because it's so hard. It's hard in real life, let alone on a platform where people are already very judgmental and there's a shield there with a screen so they can say whatever they want.

I always shy away from talking about parenting because the way that we do things is very much, I loved how you said “connection over correction.” Of course, we correct our kids and we don't allow disrespect. Disrespect is a big hot button issue for me. Our kids respect us. They need to follow the way that things go in a house. But it's not this harsh discipline thing where we don't care about where their hearts are at. And that is where there's a difference in a lot of our friends, in ourselves, and in the community that we are raising our kids in.

I guess the fear that I see that I used to have and that I see in other friends and stuff as a parent is, “Well, if you're not doing it that way, the harsh way, then you're being friends instead of being parents. We're not supposed to be “friends” with our kids and have these amazing relationships with our kids. They need parents and they need structure. They need discipline and that's your job.” It's this idea that if you're not doing it that way, then you're being a bad parent because you're worried about being close with your kids and being friends. And I would just love to hear you shine the truth on that idea.

WENDY: Absolutely. One of my dear friends and incredible positive parenting advocate is Susie Walton. She is the founder of The Joy of Parenting Program. She wrote the book, Myths That Affect Family Lives. That's actually one of the myths that she writes about is that we're not supposed to be friends with our kids. Right? The problem is if you look up the definition of friendship, it actually is an advocate. It's having someone on your side. It's having someone believe in you. It's having someone support you and lift you up. Of course, that's what we want with our kids. It doesn't mean you have to be “Lindsay Lohan friends.” It's just not true. We want to be side by side with our kids.

We want our children to talk to us. And that's what happens when you take away the fear and the force elements from parenting as much as you can. I mean, we're all human, but when you take that away, you build true connection with your kids. When you build mutual respect in your home, your kids cooperate and listen to you because they want to, not because they have to.

I encourage parents who are maybe doing it a different way and have been taught that that is the only way, that kind of oppositional thing, the “other way.” What we call it in Positive Parenting, is there's three different styles, three main different styles of parenting. There's autocratic, permissive, and then right in the middle is what we shoot for, which is firm and kind. We want to be firm with our kids and we always want to be kind and compassionate.

Autocratic is that way of “my way or the highway.” You never question me. What I say goes no matter what. That’s the autocratic method that has to rely on a lot of fear and force, because otherwise it just won't work. What we find is parents have to keep upping their game. When you lay your head on your pillow at night, it's a hard way to parent your kids your whole life.

I love teaching parents that they do not have to do it that way. I like bringing my own personal testimony into it because I've walked the walk now for seven years. I've taken a little girl who a lot of people would have looked at as out of control, defiant, disobedient, that you have to “knock the will out of her” and have used this curriculum to help shape her, help her grow and mature.

She’s a normal kid. She still pushes back and she's still pushes buttons, but holy smokes, she's an incredible human being. I'm just so grateful that we got this message that we didn't have to “knock” it out of her. That we didn't have to be so heavy-handed. That we could actually grow alongside of her, because she has taught us and, God has taught us through her, so much about life. I can't imagine if I didn't get handed this strong-willed kid.

Then one more thing about that Allie and I just, I connected with you so much about it too, because I think those of us who have this approach with our kids it can be scary to think that people are going to judge you, or that they don't get it, or that anybody thinks one of us is doing it wrong.

I like to encourage families that no matter where you are, no matter where you stand -  whether you spank or you don't spank, or you are really autocratic, or maybe there's families that aren't even permissive, that are trying to figure out that middle ground -  we're all in this together. Parenthood takes a village and there should be no division here.

I love getting parents on board with this idea to reduce judgement, to eliminate judgment. Come to the table and have conversations. At the end of the day be OK trying to work towards influencing each other to see each other's perspective, having empathy for one another.

We all have our own backstory, right? You don't know what people are bringing to the table from their childhood. That's what I try to do. Right now, I'm creating a course called Jesus Guided Parenting. I'm trying to have that approach of helping everyone understand that we are on the same page. I am going to advocate that you really dive into the work of Positive Parenting. Get your tool belt filled up with choices, so you're at choice when you parent and that you feel confident pouring into empathy, respectful methods, compassion and building relationships and then that you stay in the work and you get to see success that way.

ALLIE: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. What you were saying is so true. All of it is so good. We're all going towards the same goal of trying to raise good people. Very rarely do people set out to raise awful people, raise kids who resent them and are in therapy. We're not all going towards that.

Accepting that and seeing that it may look a little bit different. A lot of this really stuck out when I was reading your stuff. But that is one thing that really resonated with me. Guys, when we have a guest on the podcast, we kind of grill them first. Ashley really asks some hard things. For example, what would you say to a parent who's currently doing things the opposite way that you teach? What would you say to a parent who's currently, and I gave examples like spanking or this or that?

Your answers were all so laced with grace and acceptance. You said, “I would definitely not say to stop doing everything, but here's what I would do. And you try that freely, and you see what works.” It's very much not “this is the right way to do it and you're doing it wrong.”

That is what so many parenting books and parenting experts are about – “this is the wrong way. Why would you do it this way? You're going to end up like this, or your kid's going to end up like that.” It's really fear-based and that's the opposite of what this type of parenting is all about. And it's the opposite of how this type of parenting is taught to the parents, which I love.

I appreciate that about you and your mission, the way that you speak in your course and in your website.

When you answered that questionnaire, it was very much “this is real.” This is very gracious. There's room for error because we're human. There’s room for growth and acceptance if you want to keep doing that and that works for you. Great. But here's other things that could help as you do that thing.

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

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.

The Supermom Vault is only $39.00 and is available at alliecasazza.com/allcourses.

Check it out! It’s a really good simple start.

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?

This is definitely the place to go!

Check it out!  Alliecasazza.com/allcourses.

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ALLIE: OK. I want to just give space to the different kinds of like phases of parenting. Can you give us a few examples of how this type of compassionate parenting goes into the toddler years? You can just be general, whatever you want to do with that general question.

WENDY: The toddler years. Oh my goodness. Well first off, I always like to encourage parents who are in those toddler years that they are seen and they are admired for their hard work. Holy smokes, those are the years where you feel like you're never sitting down, your kids are always pushing back, especially if you got handed a strong, strong, spirited one. It so exhausting and it can feel like it's never ending.

But it does get better, you know? Knowing that you are seen and you are admired for the service that you are pouring into your kids, well you know, it will pay off. I promise you. I always say get everyone past the age of five and you'll actually be able to sit down and the fruits or the seeds that you plant will start to really create this beautiful fruit trees and flowers.

But you’ve got to hang in there. And you've got to have faith in this work. And you've got to have faith in your children.

Let me give you an example of some of the things that we teach, some of the tools. One of the biggest things that we really look at is modeling. We want to make sure that we're modeling what we want our kids to learn by what we’re doing. We always say kids often don't hear what we say, especially busy toddlers, but they always see what we do.

It really starts with us and it's a nice way just to look internally and say, “all right, what could I be doing differently tomorrow?”

For example, if you're trying to get your kids to stop screaming, but you're screaming at them consistently from the other room to come put their shoes on. You want to start with walking up to them, actually using kind, physical touch, looking in their eyes, and saying, “shoes.”

Toddlers really respond well to one word or no word. A lot of times we call it “less talking or no talking.”  A lot of times as moms we become exhausted because we're talking so much and maybe some of us, like I did, got into a pattern of nagging. I thought the more I nagged my kids, the more they would do what I say. And then at the end of the night I was annoyed because I “had to” nag them all day. They “make me” but really it's not true. It's a choice.

One of the tools we give you is, for kids who are nonverbal, you can take little pictures of a kid putting their shoes on, or a picture of Broccoli, or the carseat buckles, and put it on a little key chain, laminate them, walk up to them and show them the picture. Give yourself a break from all the nagging and the talking.

Kids will respond a lot better often to eye contact, physical touch, your hand on their shoulder looking right in their eyes.

Another good example would be asking for what you want instead of telling kids what you don't want. This is basic positive psychology of pointing kids in the right direction, redirecting them. This works really well and it’s one of the more easier tweaks of positive parenting. There's a lot of things that took a lot of practice. For example, yelling. That took me years. But challenge your brain, “how can I ask for what I want here?”

For example, instead of “Stop pulling the dog's tail,” you would say, “Please show me how you pet the dog gently.” Instead of, “Don't take that kid's toy.” You could ask for what you want and “Say, may I please have a turn when you're done.” That's one of my favorite ones with toddlers to teach kids to ask for what they want also.

Again, you're modeling what you want there. You ask your kids for what you want instead of telling them what you don't, and then your kids will follow suit. Then you'll see them at the park or in the church nursery saying, “May I please have a turn at that when you're done?”

I've found kids even in the two-year-old toddler room, they always say “yes” to that question because it's not a threatening forceful question. Toddlers are onto a new thing in two minutes and they put that little item down or they hand it to their friend.

Those are some examples: “No words, less words,” asking for what you want.  

With power kids especially, which is my favorite group because I have such a heart for them. I think they’re such a blessing to the world, but they're often seen in a really negative light. They are often their whole life told that they're wrong and that they need to change.

For “power kids,” some tools that they respond really well to is asking them questions instead of giving them compliance statements. Instead of “put your shoes on, brush your teeth, get in the car, eat your Bagel,” it’s “What do you need to put on your feet so we can go to the park? Can you be in charge of the seat belts? Let us know when we're thumbs up, ready to go. What do you need to do with your teeth, so you don't get fuzzy cavity teeth?

Those are questions for power kids. Power kids are kids that have a strong desire to lead. They have that need. If we don't fill it, they're going to go seek it inappropriately in the world. When we can fill that in the home, they act out a lot less than the world.

They know the answer. Our kids know what they need to get on their feet to get to go to the park. So, when you ask them, that need gets filled and they think, “shoes!”

ALLIE: Yeah. And I love also how you phrase that. I did an episode by myself where I opened up and shared my struggle with my son, Leland. He's my oldest son, but my second child. He was a very difficult toddler. I wish that I had found this sooner. I figured it out myself by stopping the yelling and the screaming. It was making him fight back and also breaking his spirit in a way. We came full circle and had some big realizations there. But it really bothered me when people would tell me, “oh, he is so strong-willed,” like it was bad. And I said, like in the other episode, that it really bothers me that people use that as so negative.

I hope that all of my children are strong willed. Why would you want that to be a bad thing? I hope they can be their own person, be confident, know what they want and tell people what they want, especially my daughter, as a woman in this world, but all of them. I want them to be strong willed.

You don't say “strong” or “leader” in a negative way. And again, in our community I feel it is like, “oh yeah, you got a strong-willed one” or as somebody once told me, “everybody always gets at least one strong-willed one.” Like it’s a curse; that’s how it is. There is so much negativity out there.

The power in the words that we say to our kids and about our kids and the way we describe them. It matters. It’s doing something to you. I notice that you’re very careful and positive in the way that you describe them. It's OK that it's a difficult child. It’s OK that it’s a difficult time while you’re raising them. The way you talk about it as so positive. I love that.  

WENDY: And that episode that you're talking about really blessed me. I loved that episode about Leland and it really engaged some critical thinking skills in myself on how I can talk truth over my kids more. That was wonderful.

And one more thing about that, Allie. One of my favorite authors in positive parenting, L.R. Knost, she's the author of five books. One of them is called Jesus the Gentle Parent Book. She really talks all about that. How some of the world's most incredible leaders have the same traits as our so called “strong-willed kids,” but when we describe the “strong-willed” kids it’s all negative words - disobedient, defiant, testing, out of control. But then the world leaders, and some of the greatest people have founded companies or incredible nations, they are described as persistent, perseverant, bold and tenacious.

I love challenging our brain to see it differently. It does take time; it does take practice.

ALLIE: Well, it's funny because it's like, what do we want?

I started a business and I shared on another episode of the trials that went into that and that was so hard. What do you think the traits are going to have to be for somebody to lead a country, to lead a nation? To start a huge business to lead a bunch of people, to be a missionary, to lead a family? Like what do we expect? Of course, these people, they need to be question-askers, button-pushers and envelope-pushers. They have to stretch everything thin and see how far they can go because that's what's going to make them amazing. It makes them hard to raise, sure, depending on how you're parenting, but it's worth it. It’s our job to raise them into who they're meant to be, not try to force them to comply to what is easy for us day-to-day.

WENDY: Absolutely. And empowering yourself with different ways to do that is just the way to go. There are so many things that work well with those kids, but they're often counter-cultural. The world wants us to never let those kids have an inch because you think they'll take a mile, when really they need it. They need a little wiggle room because they have incredible self-management skills. We just have to support and guide them.

ALLIE: Totally. Since we talked about toddler years, and I know that neither of us is there yet, but I do have some listeners who are, and I'm curious, how does this look in the teen years? Everyone has such a negative view, “Oh, well, wait till she's a teenager.” I hear it all the time. Because I have three boys, people tend to give comments about how they're all going to be super wild. They're all close in age so they're going to conspire against me together. Then I have a daughter, so I get the other end of the spectrum, “you better have a gun.” No, I'll just raise her to respect herself enough to make good choices.

But it's such a negative connotation with teen years. I would love to hear your take on what this sort of parenting translates into when the kids are almost adults. When they have all these opinions and they want to video chat with their friends, talk to boys and all these different things that come into play.

WENDY: Yeah. Gosh, I have a heart for teens also. My dear friend and good teacher who is the person who certified me in this work, Susie Walton. She found this work when she was a single mom and her four boys were teens. She used to joke that she would yell and yell and try to threaten them and they would all laugh at her because they're 6’4”.

And she was like, “Oh gosh, this is not working.” And that's when she found this work.

Those men are now full-grown men and are happily married. One of them is the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. I mean, they're incredibly successful, good men and they were raised on this work.

She speaks a lot about the teen years and how what an incredible opportunity we have when we use parenting and focus on developing great relationships in a strong way to be our child's advocate and be a solid support system for them when they're teens.

Because once our kids are teens, they're no longer kids and using fear and force to drive and control them for most families doesn't work as well. It doesn't feel good. And teens have a tendency to revolt from that. It just doesn't make sense for them.

Using relationship-building things where they listen and respect you because they want to and not because they have to, provides this opportunity to be a real mentor for them. And that's our job when our kids are teens. We’re no longer “parenting” them; we are now “mentoring” them. They're young adults. They should be, by that point, prepared to make really strong decisions. And when you use Positive Parenting Curriculum, you are always helping to mold your kid’s critical thinking skills.

We teach our kids to check in with their own gut, their own heart, to create intrinsic control methods. Everything from discipline to communication. It's all about guiding them to develop their own voice that is respectful and kind, but also that they can communicate what they want, they can say what they believe in, and be able to say “no” to their friend when their friend wants to do whatever drug.

It’s beautiful work that builds kids up and builds self-esteem. You want to make sure you are using this work because it’s such a great opportunity to guide them.

There was a great study done here in San Diego, in La Jolla, California about a decade ago. In this study about one thousand teenagers were asked, “Who would you love to go to when you have a problem?” And almost all of them said, “my parents, I would love it if I could talk to my parents.” And then they asked them, “well, but who would you really go to when you have a problem?” And almost all of them said, “anybody but my parents because they'll either lecture me, punish me, stay up all night worrying or just nag me. I just feel like I can't talk to them.”

It was eye opening to realize that again, we're “at choice” and we want our kids to be able to come to us with challenges. We want to be the ones guiding them and mentoring them, not necessarily their buddies or others.

ALLIE: Exactly. In trying to control, we lose control. We lose that connection.  

WENDY: You do. I've seen it over and over again in families and it breaks my heart. It's really is a strong motivator for me as I'm teaching this work. I just want to bless families with strong relationships, so when their kids become teens, they can navigate the highs and lows of life.

There is a big misconception about this work. Well, I think two. One of them is that it's permissive work, which it absolutely is not. And the other one is that you have to be perfect and bubbly and your kids are going to be perfect. It actually does not create perfection. There is no perfection in parenting. It does put you at choice with how you handle your kid’s mistakes, how you handle their learning and how you teach them.

One of the biggest elements of this work is understanding this core concept that mistakes are actually a beautiful opportunity to learn. They're really a problem when you keep doing the same mistake over and over again. But when you have a strong relationship with your child, you can mentor and support them, and you have strong, effective and compassionate discipline, that really guides them to new behavior tomorrow, it's incredible the things it does.

We’ll see, right? I'm very open and honest with my own journey and you know, I'm praying that this holds true with my own kids. My daughter's 10 now and she's definitely a tween, but I feel confident in it. You want to be able to navigate those highs and lows with integrity. And if you practice this work, it allows you to do that.

There's going to be bad days. Our kids are going to make mistakes. There's going to be times when they get bad grades, make a bad decision or date a weird person. How we work with them is really our choice.

ALLIE: Absolutely. I would like to get practical on that. Let's say you’ve got a teenager and they're making a mistake that's freaking you out. Maybe they are getting involved with the wrong crowd or maybe they actually make a pretty large mistake. They start to sleep with someone. Maybe you find out that they were drinking at a party or something. Maybe they're making a mistake currently. One of the ones that you're like, “please no.” How does handling that look like within this type of parenting?

WENDY: Well, the first thing is that we want to make sure we have established a relationship built on trust. So, if our kids come to us and tell us the truth, which is what we want, right? Because, let's face it, there are going to be times when they make mistakes. We want them to be honest with us. And so, the first rule, if you want your kids to not lie to you at any age, especially when they're teenagers, is you've got to stop reaming them when they tell you the truth.

We teach something in Positive Parenting called “heart connector,” or a pause button where if a kid tells you some freaky information, like, “Mom, I did this, or I'm hanging out here. I went to this party, I got wasted.” Whatever it is, you put your hand on your heart. Your heart starts to beat (I call it the volcano effect) and you’re thinking, “what the heck were you thinking? Oh my gosh!” And you just want to blow up on them. But what that does is it shuts a kid down and you have eliminated or extremely diminished your chances of them coming to you again and being able to mentor them out of that situation.

So, the first thing you want to do is do that heart connector. Go take a walk, go take a bath, go pray, whatever you need to do to get yourself into a place of neutral emotion. And often that will look like silence.

Then you come back to the table, maybe later, once everyone's settled down and you say, “Thank you for telling me the truth. Thank you for telling me that you did that. That means the world to me. And now I want to talk to you about what's going on.

Why did you make that choice? What were you thinking? How did you feel? How did you feel when you knew you were wasted or you drove with somebody that was drunk?” And most likely you're going to be able to mentor them to understand that they felt scared, shameful, guilty and yucky.

Then you're going to say, “Well, how would you like to do it next time? Because I know you and that's not who you are. You are a strong decision maker and I know you care about your own life. You know I care about your life and we can't have you driving in the car with people who are drunk, honey. So, here's your options for next time and this is why you want to make a different decision next time. This is why you want to think about what you’re saying “yes” to when you say “no” to getting in a car with somebody who’s drunk. You're always saying “yes” to something when you're saying “no.” You're saying “yes” to your safety and tomorrow and not getting in trouble or whatever it is.

That's the type of conversation that we have with them in a calm time. That really lifts them up and out of a behavior instead of forcing them. “Well if you do that again, you're going to be grounded. Wait till your dad finds out.” My favorite these days is all about “screen time”, “I am going to take away your phone.”

That's really the compassionate and effective discipline that we do in this work. We guide and coach parents how to make what we call “the four R’s.” It has to teach responsibility, it has to be relative, and it has to be respectful, and I often forget the fourth one…

Using those together helps kids understand that if you are going to give a consequence that having it be relative has them actually learn from it instead of making it like, “Gosh, my mom's mean.”

ALLIE: “How many more days until I get my phone back?” That’s all they care about.  

WENDY: Yeah. And also you want to make sure you're pouring into that need that they belong, that they are valued, that their voices are heard, that they have a powerful part in the family because those needs that Dr. Rudolph Dreikurs taught, it's the same for toddlers as it is for teens. Figuring out how you pour into that in those teen years is big. We do have the ability to be strong influencers on them.

ALLIE: I know we're going long. I had a feeling this would happen with you because it’s such a good topic, but going back to toddlerhood and little years, how do you handle a kid that does big, big tantrums? What if people are listening to this and they have a kid that's doing that right now and they want to start this? How do you handle public, awful tantrums?

WENDY: Great question. All right, so backing up a little bit, this work will help you get out of it. There's a few things that tantrums usually come from when kids are toddlers. Some of the biggest ones are tiredness, hunger and thirst, and sickness.

So many times we find that with toddlers, those are behind the tantrum. So, that's where the responsibility from the parent really comes in. Us seeking to look internally. What can we change in our schedule? What can we change in our expectations? What grace can we give over these children to not set them up for failure? But the fourth element of tantrums is also powerlessness that you see a lot in kids. And again, feeding into how do you empower these little guys? One of the favorite and best ways to do that with toddlers is choices. A lot of parents are, “Yeah, we give choices,” but this really becomes a fluent language with your toddlers.

And I just worked with a dear friend on this a little bit ago with her toddler who was tantruming so much. He was two and she started to incorporate more choices and sure enough it worked. But that's just one element of preventing power struggles and then dissolving them with integrity once they arise. That's just one little element; we give parents so many.

But then another thing that I would speak to with the tantrums is, a big learning experience for me that changed a lot with my daughter when she was three, was this idea that I had to fix her. That she was broken and that it was my responsibility to make sure I got control of her. Because God forbid someone saw me in the grocery store with a wild, tantruming child.

I really did a lot of work around it and I'm also a life coach in training. The more I did work around it, the more I realized that it wasn't so much about her. It was more about me, what judgment I thought was coming down on me, and what I thought other people were thinking of me.

I had to clean that up a little bit and just trust that parents get it. 99% of the world gets it. And I know everywhere I go, I try to give a mom a smile or pat on the back, and say, “You’re doing an amazing job. Hang in there. Go get yourself a latte.”

Trusting that and being able to give compassion, kindness and empathy, you can do that better when you trust that humanity is behind you.

There is the 1% who will make those comments and you're just like, “Come on, please!” But I love this idea of not feeling like your kids are broken or that you have to get control and fix them.

Sometimes you just gotta scoop your little one up, leave the grocery store, put them in their car seat and go for a drive until they fall asleep. And that is OK. Tantrums are, like I said, most of the time about how to empower these little ones so they don't feel like they're powerless.

They are also about the hunger, thirst and the sickness. A lot of times when my kids have had the worst tantrum when they were little, the next day they came down with a cold or they got sick, and I was like, “That's why!”

ALLIE: Yes. Oh my gosh. I was going to add but I didn’t want to interrupt you. But I was going to say, do you know how many times a huge freak-out happened and I would go home? “What is wrong with my parenting? This was so awful!” And then the next morning they are throwing up.  Do you know how many times I had an abandoned cart at the grocery store that I had to say, “I'm so sorry I have to leave,” and I wouldn't get my groceries because we had to leave from a freak-out.

Everybody does get it. It's OK. It usually is a heart issue. You think, “They're just such a difficult kid. Oh my gosh, I need to really deal with this.” But then it’s usually that they feel really stuffed up and they have a cold coming on, or it's something simpler

WENDY: Or overstimulated or you just thought you could push them 10 minutes on their nap to get some groceries.

Yeah. I was just in the grocery store the other day actually. We talk a lot in this work. We do a lot of paradigm shifting and we give this example of Stephen Covey on the subway. But I actually had the same perspective shift that I was in the grocery store and I had three little girls with me who are friends of ours, they go to our elementary school and they just lost her mom to cancer. I had my little guy with me, so we I had four kids with me in the grocery store. I bow down to you; I don’t know how you go it. But we’re going through and I just wanted to get some frozen food for them so dad could empower them to make their own snacks.

And they're like, “Can we have ice cream?” And I'm just like, “Sure, sure.” And they're running around and they're wild and someone did do that look at me. And I just tried to reach in and have compassion for that person who I thought probably was judging me, and think to myself, “They have no idea what's actually going on in this situation.”

Everybody has their story, whether it's kids being wild or kids tantruming. You don't know what's going on with that mom or that kiddo.

One more quick story, Allie. Years ago, I was in a little café close to my house. I've had many moments where I'm not patient with my kids, but this particular day I was working to be patient with them. They were doing something annoying and I found the energy to be calm and patient with them.

And the young girl came up to me and said, “I just want to tell you that the way you talk to your kids, what you're doing with them is so inspirational. You don't hear a lot of people talk to their kids like that.” And literally I started crying because all these years of hard work of trying to find compassion and grace on how to work with these kids, especially in public, to have someone see it, admire it and acknowledge it; I was blown away by that.

So that's how I try to be nowadays for those moms who have those kids tantruming is just to acknowledge their hard work and say, “You are seen and admired. This stage will pass. They will get a little bit older and won’t do that.”  

ALLIE: Yeah, because it feels like it never will. And I know what you're referencing with the Stephen Covey, with the dad on the subway and it's so true. You just don't know. You don't know where they just came from. You don't know if this is her “off day” or she's just “done.” She's just received terrible news. It's almost cheesy because that example is out there for everything, but none of us are acting like we know that. We don't know where this person is coming from.

It’s funny that we care what people think of when we are out with our kids. We're all doing our best. We're trying to raise good kids. Your parenting. You're having a hard day. You do you. The last thing we need to be doing is worrying about what somebody else thinks. If we can all let go of that and those expectations we have of ourselves to meet other people's expectations when we're out in public and with tantrums and stuff, it would just be so much easier.

That's the best thing I think we can do for ourselves right now is just simplify and make things a little bit easier for ourselves.

I feel like we could talk for hours that we may have to have you on for another episode or something because this is just so good and so full of hope, and empowering. That's what moms need.

Thank you for taking so much time to be here with us. I so appreciate it.

And guys, we’ll link to everything, where you can find Wendy, it's freshstartfamilyonline.com.

She's got an amazing course that she gifted to me and I have been looking through. It's so good. If you think this interview is good, it’s a million times better.

And then you also have the Bonfire, right? Which I think is a monthly membership.

WENDY: Yes!

ALLIE:  So we'll link to everything. If you want more of Wendy or the amazing work that she's doing, we'll link to everything. I encourage you guys to go and check it out.

Thank you so much, Wendy!

WENDY: Thank you Allie! I’m glowing! What a great conversation. This was awesome. Thanks again.

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This was an episode of The Purpose Show.  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, head to alliecasazza.com for free downloads, courses, classes and to learn more about what the next step might look like for you.  I am always rooting for you. See ya next time!

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

 

EP: 032 Kids Who Rebel vs Kids Who Don't Rebel feat. Rebecca Lindenbach

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Rebellion is seen as a cultural norm, but Rebecca Lindenbach begs to differ. Rebellion is not a mistake, it is a habitual behavior pattern. Yes, bad things can happen, but that doesn’t mean there isn't hope. In her book, Why I Didn’t Rebel, she shows how rebellion is not unavoidable and how it is often misunderstood. She offers incredible research partnered with her own story and the stories of others. Her foundation stems from reasons over rules, giving parents a new paradigm for raising kids who don’t go off the rails. Because rules create a power imbalance while reasons cultivate a healthy parenting relationship. Her book is the best parenting book I have read, so I know you will enjoy this episode!

 
 

In This Episode, Allie + Rebecca Discuss:

  • What rebellion is and what it is not.

  • How you can effectively work discipline, training or teaching into your parenting to help your kids void rebellion.

  • Why rules create a power imbalance while reasons cultivate a healthy parenting relationship.

  • The power of the words you speak over your children, as they are a self fulfilling prophecy.

  • How discipline works when your kids are really young and how you can set them up for success as teenagers.

  • Their perspective on whether or not how you choose to school your children impacts their behavior.

Mentioned in this Episode:

 

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Motherhood is hard. 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!


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 The Purpose Show.

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ALLIE: Hey ladies. Welcome back to another episode of The Purpose Show. I am so beyond excited for this one. I am sitting here with Rebecca Lindenbach. She's the author of Why I Didn't Rebel and it is a book that I have been talking about so much lately because, as I said on Instagram, it is the best parenting book I have ever read. It's not even written by a parent and I think that's what makes it great. I'm so honored to have you here. Thank you so much for being here!

REBECCA: I'm so excited for this! Seeing all the Instagram feedback from you as well has made me even more excited for today.

ALLIE: Yeah! And everybody is like,"No pressure, but everybody's been waiting for this!"

REBECCA: OK, I'll try to deliver.  {laughing}

ALLIE: I am so looking forward to this conversation. You are like me in the way that you speak very directly and you definitely have a "no BS" for lack of a better term, attitude about the way that you speak and I love that. I really respond to that. I think it's really good for people to hear that kind of talk in this sugarcoated, overly-fluffed society that we live in where everybody gets a trophy and everything's "It will be fine. You're just doing your best." No, it won't though. We need to be intentional. We need to know where we're going and I love that about you and your book. Before we dive in to all my post-noted questions, why don't you just tell us a little bit about yourself first?

REBECCA: Well, I am Canadian, which is one thing a lot of people don't know about me. I don't know why that always seems to be such a huge thing when people find out. "Oh my gosh. You're Canadian, right?" Yeah, we exist.

I've been married for almost three years now. The beginning of our marriage was me writing this book, which as anyone who's ever written a book knows how incredibly busy and stressful it is to write a book, and that was on top of being a newlywed. So that was fun. It was a lot of fun, but it was definitely very emotional at times. But, it's been a topic that I've been so interested in for such a long time. I've always just been one of those people who loves to see themes and patterns, especially when it comes to human behavior, which is why when I studied psychology in school.

And so as soon as I got this book, my mom was telling me, "You have to write this book!" And Connor, my now husband, was like, "well, of course you have to write this book! This is your book!" And so, I wrote the book and he was really good through that. Pretty much my life these days is talking about a lot of parenting issues online, but mostly I'm working with my mum online, which is also pretty fun. I do most of the parenting side on her website.

ALLIE: I love that because you're her daughter. If you haven't read the book listeners, it's funny because it sounds kind of funny. You think, "She doesn't know anything about parenting," but, no! That is what makes this book so amazing is because it's coming from your perspective and you didn't just talk out of your mouth and just about your own childhood. You brought in other people. I think every chapter has a story from other people.

REBECCA: Every chapter has at least two other people and psychological research. I was a psychology student like I said, and the research side of me was "I can't just have this be a case study of Rebecca." Because, first of all, no one wants to hear an entire book just about me. And also it just wouldn't be that interesting. Right? But I wanted to make sure it was representative of it. The curiosity was, "Is this the thing that I found helped me,  going to also help other people? Or was I just an outlier? Right? So I really wanted to address that question.

ALLIE: Yes. And I love too that you're a Christian and your family is Christian. I'm a Christian. But you do not have to be of faith at all to take something incredibly valuable and powerful from this book. You're very unbiased.

No, you're totally unbiased. I feel like you've covered all the bases. There is no way that somebody (and it'll be really irritating if somebody finds a way), but I don't think there's any way that anybody could read this book and be, "Well, she didn't think of this or she didn't cover this kind of parent. You cover incredibly, incredibly strict, very rules-based, to the level of unkindness, really crazy strict parents. And very loose parents. You cover everything. Christians, not Christians. Church-going, not church going. Church-going, but didn't really get involved. Every type of parent that I can think of that. I love that. So I just want to get right in.

ALLIE: I just highlighted some things that I wanted to ask you about more towards the beginning of the book because I don't want to get the whole thing away. People need to get your book. I love how the first chapter is "What is rebellion?", and how you preface the entire book perfectly by addressing that. And it's quite a large chapter, too, of what rebellion is, defining it and saying what it is "not." I think, this is where myself as a mother, I tend to freak out. Especially when I hear parents or other people talk about that "something happened", a mistake is made. And I'm like "Oh my gosh. I can't believe that happen to them." But then after this big thing "happens," there is a lesson learned and the person or child and they go on to live a great life. A mistake is not rebellion. Rebellion is rebellion. Can you talk a little bit more about that, what you say in the book about that, and your thoughts on actually defining what rebellion is before we freak out about it?

REBECCA: I wrote the first chapter after I had done all of my interviews, right? I had already talked to all of these people. I had really delved into this and really thought about, "OK, what makes me think that this is one of the kids who rebelled versus this kid who may have gotten really drunk at a party once, didn't rebel. What's the difference?" Right? Because there was a difference in how they lived their lives and how their relationship with her parents was.

And what came back to me again and again was just this idea of who are you living your life for? Are you living your life for God or are you living your life against God? Because we all sinned and we all fall short. Teenagers are very lovable, but they're very dumb and they make mistakes. I say in the first chapter that everyone goes through extreme hormones, hormonal swings during teenage years. I had a lot of people in my life growing up and I saw all my friends who would get punished for being really moody when they were PMS-ing like mad when they were 14 years old.

I just didn't really see that as necessarily being a bad kid, and I thought, "I don't know, that just seems really rough." So I really wanted to address that to make sure that we didn't see all sorts of misbehavior as rebellion because there are two different types. There's the mistakes you make once and you say, "OK, I can be a better person than this." And there's that habit. There's habitual stubbornness to go your own way, even when you know that it's wrong. Then there's also rebellion of the heart. All three of those look very, very different. But all of them need to be addressed.

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely. And you did it beautifully in that chapter. It brought a lot of clarity and it was really great. You could tell that you wrote it after the rest of the book, which is good. It was as if you were saying, "OK, I've done all of this. I've gone through everything you're about to read, and you need to know what you're looking for here." You brought a lot of clarity to a hazy area of parenting. It's really sad and myself included. I think a lot of parents kind of get thrown into this whole gig. Everybody is super planned. Personally for my husband and I, I was told, "You're either not going to be able to have kids or it is going to be super hard." So we were just chilling together and pregnant eight months into our marriage.

And it was shocking and so you kind of fall, for lack of a more professional term, backwards into parenting. You just have a lot of fear of "I don't want to be too harsh. I don't want to be too relaxed. I don't want to have all these rules without reasons." But then, especially in the Christian atmosphere, very spare-the-rod, spoil-the-child. I'm very strict. My husband and I tend to stick out in that regard, which you address as well. And I love that. It's like you just have all these things. You're just trying your best and it's not enough. I think it is very important to shine a light on what we're looking for, what we want and what we don't want. And what is that verse? It's in Proverbs. "Without vision, the people perish." That is so perfect for parents, for everything. But for parenting, if you don't know what you're looking for, how can you effectively discipline, train or teach?

REBECCA: Even in parenting the added element is that what if you do have one of the kids who has like a "big mistake" in high school, you're in the middle of the emotion of it as well, right? You're in the fear, in the middle of the uncertainty of the "is this going to become a perpetual habit or is this just a once in a lifetime kind of big mistake?" And I think that sometimes parents need to be told there are kids who just make mistakes and it turns out OK. Kids who don't go into full blown rebellion.

And that was a big thing I tried to do with the book in general. It was just kind of showing parents that, "Yes, bad things can happen, but that doesn't mean there isn't hope. That doesn't mean that even if your worst case scenario comes true, it can't be used by God."  And that was kind of a point I was trying to strike, trying to hit again and again and again with the book because it's really scary. And that was one of the biggest revelations coming out of all the interviews that I did was just, "Holy cow parenting must be really hard."

ALLIE: So is being a kid, which is something that I took from your book. You forget so quickly what it was like. I read this book with two different trains of thought - which is why I had to read it a couple of times and will probably read it again - one was how I was raised and then how I want to raise my kids. And so it was really interesting to just notice, "Yeah, I did feel like that or I didn't." I didn't realize that's why I had done that or felt that way and then to reverse it and think forward with my kids. It's just so good in so many ways.

OK. Basically after chapter one, I think the rest of the book is really what made these kids rebel and what made them not. And what is the common denominators here? What happened? And so one of the first things you talk about is rules. I'm just talking out of memory. I think it's the chapter where you gave the example, which I loved, of your dad being allergic to all your dress up clothes and the feather boas and others.

REBECCA: Yeah, the really fluffy ones.

ALLIE: Yeah, and you had a sister, so girly things everywhere. It's just the way she handled it and it's simplest example, but I love it. It's so perfect and applies to everything. And your mom saying, "Let's not bring these things downstairs (or upstairs) because Daddy's allergic and we it sucks for him to come home and be allergic. Just keep them over here." And it was a reason instead of "I've told you we do not bring these things downstairs!"  Instead of having these set rules and nobody understands why. Kids are not dumb, they can handle it. They just want to understand. If you lay out for your kids, "oh, we're not going to do this in our house just because we need to respect Dad and that really sucks for him to come home from work after a long day and then have an allergic reaction. So let's not do that." And then you never did it because you understand why. It wasn't just an unwritten rule that was "because I said so." So can you talk a little bit more about that and how you saw that played out in positive and negative in the people that you interviewed. And in parenting in general, and why that's important?

REBECCA: Exactly what you said. Kids aren't dumb. What they really understand is cause and effect relationships, right? I do this, I get a cookie. I do this, I have a timeout, right? That's why we use positive reinforcers and positive punishment. Sorry, that's psychology talk. But that's why we use "the carrot and the stick" kind of mentality a lot of the time with kids. And so what I saw in a lot of these families is you have the two sides of the spectrum. You have families who have a ton of rules and you don't give any reasons at all. It's like "You do this because I am your parent I told you to." One person in particular who I talked about in the book, I call him Nathan in the book, the problem that he found was that the rules didn't have a clear cause and effect relationship, and the cause and effect relationship that was there didn't change as he got older.

REBECCA: For instance, he would be allowed to go downtown 45 minutes on his own after dark, but he wouldn't be allowed to go over to another guy friend's house and watch a G-rated movie unless there was parent supervision when he was 17 years old. 13 years old? That's one thing.17 years old? That's another. And for him it just felt so unfair because, as he said in his words, he was going to move out in five months anyway, so why wasn't he allowed to have at least a little bit of freedom. Was it that his mom didn't really respect him? Did she just like having the control? What was it? Of course, looking back on it, he understands a lot of the fear and the uncertainty that his mom must have been facing as a parent.

He was the first born as well. And I think it's always harder with a first born because you don't really know what you're doing. But it's really hard when you're the kid who is sitting there and you feel like, listen, I have the ability to get myself a job. I could legally move out if I wanted to. I'm going to be living on my own really soon. And I feel like my parents don't even see me. I feel like they can't see what I'm capable of doing and I feel like they're just trying to control me instead of getting to know me. That's what a lot of the really strict rules do because they create a power imbalance instead of a relationship.

ALLIE: That is so controversial. I thought it was, "I'm the parent of a child. You can do whatever I say because I said it." Really that is kind of what's happening, but it's not in that tone. You can’t come at them like they've done things wrong when they haven't. It's like being treated like a convict when you haven't done anything. You just want to go for a bike ride and if you can't that's fine. But can I know why?  

It's just changing our tone and our perspective to have these conversations with our kids, to have a relationship with them, to build trust and closeness, but also you're still being authoritative. You still are their parent. I love that you break it down to where you end up saying that authoritative parents are the ones who have the balance of warmth and respect in a relationship with their kids, but they're also the ones who laid down the law and say, what is, what goes and what doesn't. Yeah, go, who are you going to be there with? That's where you land is that's what our goal should be, is to be that type of parent that has the healthy balance.

REBECCA: Precisely. Here's what I've come to the conclusion after talking to 25 young adults, it was a lot of interviews. Yeah, there's a lot of footage out there. What I've found is that if the ultimate goal of parenting is blind obedience to the parents then what happens when they hit 18? Right? But the thing about authoritative parenting, is that you still have rules. You still have things that you do and you do not do as a family. Like my family, we didn't bring feather boas outside of our dressup room. Of course we had other things we didn't do as well, like swear and party and all those kinds of things. But on top of that we didn't only have the rules, we had the relationship and when I didn't agree with my parents or something, we could talk about it and there were a lot of times where I changed their minds.

There were a lot of times I did not. And then there were a lot of times where I didn't change their minds and my little sister got to not have the rules because I realized later that they were a little bit strict there. But having that mixture of the solid "No, there is an authority here" that makes you feel safe as a kid. You know what's expected. But that authority is going to listen to me and isn't going to put my needs and my rights second to anyone else's. Because the rules aren't there to put the kids' needs and right below the parents. It's there to help the kids stay safe and become the kind of person who God wants them to be. That's why that relationship is so important.

ALLIE: Right. And I think it's just a focus shift where if you're focusing, like you said, on just getting them to listen and obey to every single thing you say all the time, well yeah, there's ways you can get that. But it's going to turn sour eventually sooner or later.

But if your focus is, like you said, having the relationship, raising good humans who can think for themselves and know who they are. That's the thing too, is that if you're focused on just obedience, you're missing each child. I have four, so I know something about how different they each are. What works for Bella will not work for Leland, for Hudson and Emma and all the other thousands of kids (that I can just keep listing because I have so many kids), but it doesn't. They're all different and if I'm focusing on obedience on rules and I'm missing an opportunity to listen and see each of them in their hearts and their gifts and their struggles and then adapt. It's so much less pressure as a parent to do it that way too, to just play it by ear and follow the Lord's Spirit.  Play it by ear and listen to your kids and have a relationship with them and know your gut what's right or wrong for them right now.

REBECCA: Well, that's exactly it. It's a lot less pressure, but it can be a lot more intimidating to decide not to parent by parenting gimmicks versus parenting by the Spirit, right? Because how do you ever know for sure? There's no checklist if you're parenting by the Spirit, right? There's no formula. There is no group of people who can judge you and say, "Yes, you are parenting exactly like the Spirit." That's why it's so much harder for a lot of people, you know? That's why it can be so much more difficult, but it's so important. It's such a huge testament to kids to be able to see their parents who are living by their convictions and by the Spirit versus by a rules-based version of what they think the family should look like. I mean, I know that my prayer life and my faith is so much impacted by my parents, seeing them deal with the times that we really tested them.

ALLIE: I love that you said that you think there's a big gap in our generations of raising kids because we're like the first wave of parents raising kids in this overly tech-saturated, terrifying season. I was much like you. I was the oldest. My parents were great. Everybody has their flaws. I had a great challenge, great parents. I did not rebel, and they didn't have to worry about any of this stuff. I didn't have a phone until I was 17 and it was a little flip phone and it was ten cents per text or whatever. And now if you accidentally hit the microscope for the magnifying glass icon on Instagram and there's full on pornography right in your face. It's so accessible.

I've got three boys. That alone would send me careening into a pit of despair. It is so crazy. And on the girls side, the comparison game is at its peak. It's so hard and I don't have an example of how to raise a kid in that. And so you specifically chose kids who were raised in this tech-obsessed time. None of them are my age or older, they're all in their early…

REBECCA: They were all under 25 when I interviewed them.

ALLIE: Yeah, so after post Facebook, cell phones, all of that.

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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?

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ALLIE: The next thing that I wanted to ask you about and just bring to light is the section about expectations, that children are a self-fulfilling prophecy. I love it so much. I want to bring up Monica and how you talked about her and her mom almost flippantly jokingly saying, "Oh, I only have a couple more years" until she starts to do whatever these awful things that teenagers tend to kind of do.

REBECCA: Sneak out the windows?

ALLIE: Sneak out the windows to be with boy. I thought, "is that normal?" And there's another episode of my podcast where I talk about the power of words (I have seen it so many times in my life) and speaking positive things over our children, speaking blessings and abundance over their lives and Jesus over their lives in their hearts. And it was so painful to read that section.

REBECCA: I was kinda the opposite of that, right?  

ALLIE: Parents say that all the time as a joke almost. I wonder if it's almost like a self-defense thing. "She's going to do it because every teenager does that." "She's such a troublemaker." Or my least favorite thing about boys, "Oh, he's going to be a heartbreaker. He's gonna be a lady killer." Even on onesies now like it's supposed to be cute.  Maybe you can talk a little bit more about that and maybe some examples that you saw, what that looks like, how parents were doing that and what we should be doing instead.

REBECCA: Yeah. Well the big thing about expectations is that kids feel it very, very, very hard. Parents, I think. A lot of times the kid’s perspective was that their parents were always disappointed in them if they had those expectations of failure. So I had one girl in particular, we call Haley in the book, she said that she had never once heard her mom say "I'm proud of you" except for at her figure skating recitals and competitions and stuff like that. But her mom was always on her case about what she was doing wrong, if she had done anything wrong. What did you do wrong? I know you've done something and I know you're hiding it from me, but I haven't figured it out yet.

And it makes the relationship go from tense to bad to non-existent. It just does.There's no sugar coating it with that. For the expectations part, the thing is that we tend to treat kids like they're little juvenile delinquents before they've even done anything wrong. I see this over and over again where kids just want their parents to like them and all they get is this message of disappointment. Why can't you be more like your friend? Didn't I raise you better than this and all those kinds of messages of disappointment. Where as in families where there was a lot of expectation for the positive, even when there was failure, it went well, if that makes any sense.

So I had one girl named Parker in the book, her parents were very much like my parents. "Our kids aren't going to rebel because they're just not. They have Jesus, we trust Jesus and we fully expect them not to rebel." So when Parker would do something really dumb and screw up or gossip on a friend, or maybe she didn't study for a test and failed it when she really should have passed it with flying colors, it doesn't become this, "I'm so disappointed in you. I knew that this was going to happen. You are just like your father'" or any of those kinds of messages. It was more of, "Hey, we know that you can do better. You did so badly, but we know that you're better than this because we know who you are. We know who God has made you to be."

It isn't a shaming thing. Whereas like, "Man, you can do so much better than this. What's wrong with you?"  But more of a, "Hey, what's up? How can I help you? It's a symptom of a greater problem.

ALLIE: Exactly, a symptom. That's a perfect word. I love that.

OK, so my last question for you is in light of all of this and in light of the book and getting into why kids do or don't rebel, how does discipline look when your kids are young? Is that too general?

REBECCA: No, this is great. People ask me all the time about the book, "Is this a book on "teenagers?"  Really it's just a book about parenting in general.

ALLIE: Yes, because most of our listeners their kids are young, nine-ish and younger. Most of them.  I tended to think, "Oh, this is so good for when they're older," But no.

REBECCA: It's actually just the kind of thing where I had a lot of parents of teenagers email and say, "I wish I had this book 10 years ago when my kid was five years old." It's not a teenager book. It's just the kinds of things that helped us as teenagers, which goes way back into childhood. Most of the questions I asked kids (they're all adults at this point) but I asked the children was actually about the elementary school years.  

ALLIE: And I think discipline is one of those things where there are so many things that you can do or shouldn't do and it's just overwhelming. It really is. Especially when something doesn't work for one of your kids that worked with the older one.

REBECCA: That was the story of my parent's life, I was like the perfect kid and my sister was a little bit more difficult as an elementary school kid.

ALLIE: Maybe just give us a general idea of what does a plan would look like in terms of, you know, why I didn't rebel?

REBECCA: Yeah. Well the overarching principle behind discipline that I found works best from my interviews and I also talked to a clinical psychologist who specializes in parenting psychology with children with behavioral problems. So these are really difficult kids to work with. And I talked to a theologian. I really, really, really did my research. What I found is the major principle behind it is we need to work on discipline, not punishment. Discipline is all about teaching kids what is the right thing to do and punishment is about teaching kids what's the wrong thing.

REBECCA: Right? When we focus on discipline, the issue is always the end goal. What are we aiming for? We're aiming for a kid who is loving, who is caring, who is considerate. And so when we're talking about these kinds of issues, we can have five million kinds of things. "This will have your kid be the perfect kid at the end of the day. " But really it comes down to understanding what is your child's feeling at that moment? Why are they doing what they're doing? That's a conversation that needs to happen. Like I share in the book, I had a lot of emotional control issues my entire childhood and I still deal with emotional ups and downs. But a big thing my parents always did was, "What are you feeling?" "When we are feeling angry, what can we do instead of hitting our sister?"

And then also letting kids deal with the consequences of what they did. That's not the same thing as a punishing them harshly. A big thing in our family was if we didn't eat our dinner, we didn't get dessert because that's a natural consequence. If you don't eat your healthy food, then you don't get your unhealthy food. You have to eat the food that mom prepared for you first. That was a big one for me because I love dessert and I did not like peas. But these ideas of how can we teach kids what's the right thing to do instead of simply harshly punish them for the wrong thing. And that's something that can be really difficult to figure out in the moment. But the biggest advice that I can give, based on the interviews, is focused on what your child's perspective is.

Because molding behavior won't really do anything if you don't get to the heart of the matter, right? If they're hitting their sister because they're really, really, really angry and they learn not to hit, but they don't learn how to deal with the anger, then the anger is going to come out in other ways. But the other thing too is just relax a little bit and just let them deal with what comes, OK? I gave the example of one little kid who really didn't like putting on clothes and wanted to wear pajamas all the time, and so mom was like, "OK, you can go to preschool in your pajamas" and all the kids made fun of him in his pajamas and then he put on clothes after that. And he's not scarred from it. Just relax a little bit.

Your kid doesn't need to be perfect. It's not going to be horrible if other parents see your kid bearing the brunt of their own actions. So what if your kid has ripped pants because they ruined their pants and didn't take care of them properly? Then? Well, you don't get to have nice pants while everyone else has nice pants. These kinds of ideas where it's about doing the right thing, not about harshly punishing so they don't do the wrong thing. And a lot of that just comes down to getting to the heart behind it.

ALLIE: And that simplifies the brain clutter that we feel so much. This book was just a breath of fresh air and it really lighten my load as a parent in all the different ways, especially doing what I do. I talk to a lot of people with a lot of opinions and a lot of different methods for things. Really there is no one-size fits all method. You have to just, like you said, relax and take it as it comes and look at the heart and where you want to go.

REBECCA: Yeah, and get to know your kid. There are so many parents who don't really know their children because they don't take the time to really talk to them. And something I found again and again, (I wish I'd had more space to put this in the book), but out of all of the kids that I've talked to who rebelled, I asked every single one with them what their biggest regret was. And these are kids who had a lot of things that went on and their number one regret for every single one except for one kid was that they didn't have a good relationship with their parents.

It wasn't what they did in high school. It wasn't living with the ramifications of what had happened in high school. It wasn't anything like that. It was all about the parents because what kids really, really want is their mom and dad. They really want is that relationship and that is like simultaneously incredibly heartbreaking, but also so incredibly helpful I think for parents, just knowing that you are what your kid needs.

ALLIE: Absolutely. Absolutely. And one more quick thing I would love to ask. You were homeschooled?  I'm homeschooling my kids. We've done public school, homeschooling flopped back and forth as needed and there's all different kinds of ways to raise your kids in that regard. Christian school, private school, Public School, Charter school. How much do you think that has to do with how your kids end up or do you think it doesn't matter at all? It's all about you as the parent.

REBECCA: A mix, and I know that's such a cop-out answer, but I know kids who are homeschooled who are terrifying now. We're talking terrified, like I don't want to be in a room alone kind of situation and that's OK to say because it's true. I'm not exaggerating. But I also know kids who are homeschooled and are like me and who didn't rebel and that kind of thing. Also the same thing with public schools. I think no matter what you end up doing with your kids, if you aren't talking to your kids, if you aren't spending time getting to know them, it's not going to end up well. With homeschooling, it is easier to spend a lot of time with your kids and get to know them. I think that is a big factor and that was a huge factor in my parent's relationship with me. I am trying to think of all the kids who didn't rebel and how many were homeschooled and I think there was only one other kid.

ALLIE: You mentioned a lot when you were talking to them there was circumstances that came up at school.

REBECCA: I tried to get a really big cross section of different demographics as well because again, psychology research mind, but I didn't only interview homeschooled kids. It wasn't like all the homeschool kids were good. They're actually one or two kids who rebelled who are homeschooled in the book.

ALLIE: I get asked that a lot, especially because we put our kids in school last year and pulled them out halfway and everyone assumes "something happened." What happened? What were you afraid of? We just missed our kids and it just works out better for us. It's really convenient and flexible.  But yeah, it's good to hear that. I think people put a lot of weight on the parenting world on that decision and I think it will matter for sure, but it's not it. That's not your only job is to make sure you educate. They spend most of their day in the right place.

REBECCA: I'll be honest here, I didn't have a single kid who rebelled or who didn't rebel say that it was because they went to Christian school, didn't go to Christian school, were homeschooled or not homeschooled. I think that when we put so much emphasis on the kind of schooling kids are getting it's easy to put a lot of the blame or the "ownness" on what your kids are learning on the school, if that makes sense? Not just educationally, but in terms of their faith, spiritual development, personal development. Which is why to say no matter where your kids are going, if you just don't have time to talk with them, then change something.

ALLIE: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I love that. OK. Where can people find you? Where are you at?  Where are you writing? Where can they connect with you outside of your book?

REBECCA: My personal website which is updated sporadically at best is  lifeasadare.com. The best place to find me right is my mum's website, which is tolovehonorandvacuum.com. I know you have had her on the podcast.  I post pretty much once a week on there, once a week or once every two weeks. That was a place to find me right now.

ALLIE: Yeah, I love that. Well, we'll link to your site. We'll link to your mom's site and, your book for sure. But thank you so much for taking so much time. I know this was a longer episode, but thank you for being here and taking your time and sharing with us. We just are so grateful. I'm so grateful to have you and I'm really grateful that you took the time. I know you initially didn't want to write this book.

REBECCA: Write the book? Yeah I was very, very hesitant.

ALLIE: Yeah. Thank you so much, Rebecca. You are amazing. I'm so impressed by you. You just, you shine and I know you're going to do amazing things. Continuing to do amazing things. So thank you for being here.

REBECCA: Thank you so much for having me.  

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This was an episode of The Purpose Show.  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, head to alliecasazza.com for free downloads, courses, classes and to learn more about what the next step might look like for you.  I am always rooting for you. See ya next time!

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

 

BONUS 02: Transitioning Between Home and Public School

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For our family, we take it year by year when it comes to whether we homeschool our kids or send them to public school. And I get asked a lot about how we handle the transitions. It is such an adjustment for everyone. Sometimes the adjustment is easy + other times it is a little more challenging. In this episode I want to share my experiences with the transitions but also want to give you some tips on how to make public school or homeschool easier on you + your family. And remember that no matters what decisions you make about schooling for your kids, you are an amazing mother!

 
 

In This Episode, Allie Discusses:

  • Tips for transitioning between homeschool + public school and vice versa.

  • Her experience with transitioning kids in the middle of the school year.

  • Different ways to make the most out of your schooling experience, whether it is public school or homeschool.

 

Mentioned in this Episode:

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The Developing Rhythms Workbook will help you figure out what rhythms are, how they are going to help you, what yours should be, and when you should do them. The whole shebang! If you go through this workbook you will end up with an amazing set of rhythms that will help you in your life and in your role! 


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 The Purpose Show.

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Hello ladies! Welcome to another Bonus Episode of The Purpose Show! This is Bonus Episode 2 and I am really excited to dive into this one. I am going to be talking about transitioning between homeschool and public school.

Whether that’s from public to homeschool or from homeschool to public. We are going to cover all the things that I think are most important about that. We have done both. I get asked about it all of the time and I want to lend a hand.

In case you are not sure (maybe you haven’t listened to one yet), Bonus Episodes are really neat. They are episodes that are so exciting for me, and so full of good stuff for you, that I can’t wait to release the content. As you probably know, the podcast is planned out pretty far in advance. Sometimes I get a good idea and I don’t want to wait until three months from now to release that episode, so I will make a bonus episode. Or if I get asked about something so often I will make it a bonus episode.

This one is the latter. You guys have asked about this so much because I have been somewhat open about sharing our journey between home and public school and back again over the last year or so. I am going to talk about that.

First, let’s discuss going from homeschool to public school. I first want to say to those of you who have been homeschooling and have decided to put your kids in public school that I am not here to help you make that decision. I am not going to be addressing that.

For me and my husband, we have followed the peace of God each year. We take it year by year. We never say, “O, we are always going to homeschool”, or “this is how we are going to do things in our family when it comes to the kid’s school.”

It’s a lot to homeschool. It’s a lot to have the kids in public school for different reasons. There is a lot that goes into it. There have been a lot of different things that have led to us homeschooling, putting a pause on that, putting the kids in public school. We always knew that it would be temporary, but we weren’t really sure. We thought it would be for a whole school year, but it ended up being much shorter, and was just for one semester.

We do our best to be spirit-led parents. We prayerfully make our decisions. I will not be addressing that – that’s all your decision. But I will be talking about if you have already made the decision to switch from one to the other. I will help in all the ways that I can think of.

So, going from homeschool to public school: The first thing I want to say is the whole point of homeschooling is to go slow and lean towards child-led learning in order to give your kids a passion for knowledge and learning. This is not the way the public school system in most states is set up.

Nothing negative about them. Nothing against the public school system. I am definitely not one of those homeschool moms who has terribly hard feelings about the public school system. I really think that it is a lot to handle over there. And I think they do a great job on a lot of things. I think teachers are some of the most amazing human beings on the planet. I am very grateful for them. I don’t homeschool because I am trying to keep my kids from something.

Having said that, giving your kids a passion for learning, going really slow, leaning into each kids individual needs and what they want to learn about, and doing that child-led learning is not the way the public school system is set up. Homeschooling generally is.

You are probably going to encounter some push back from the way you did things as a homeschooling mom as you transition your child or children into public school, and that’s OK.  You were doing what you believed was best for your child during that homeschooling time. That’s the best thing you could have done.

Now here you are with life happening and things changing, shifting, and again you are doing what you believe to be the best thing for your child and your family in a different school year, or half way through the school year. It is just an adjustment for everyone, and it’s OK if it is a little hard. It is OK if people let out a sigh, or make a passive aggressive comment, or make a face. Maybe they aren’t rude, but they don’t seem like they really get it when it comes to you homeschooling, where you are at, what they learned and how you taught them.

I think it is important to remember that it is your teacher’s job to help your child. She works for you and for your child, so don’t let anyone put you down or make you feel badly. You are an excellent mother.

I feel like some of you need to hear me say that to you. I feel that with my whole heart. If you’ve even listened to this podcast. If you have even attempted to homeschool your kids. If you’ve even taken your kids to public school, kissed them on the cheek and bid them goodbye, you are an excellent mother. Don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise.

I think it is really important to be as available as possible for your kids after school, especially if you are worrying about how this is going to go. Maybe you are used to spending all of your day with your kids, but now this (afternoon's) is now your time together. I know it is near the end of the day and you are all exhausted, but this is a crucial time for creating a safe space for your kids to talk with you and for them to connect with you after a day spent apart.

Set up a system for all the things that come with going to public school. There is going to be more paperwork than you could ever imagine. Set up a system for that. For me, I had a wooden paper sorter, that I got at Target, right by the door. When the kids walked in the door, they had a job. They had to hang their backpacks on the hooks and get out any paperwork that the teacher put in their backpacks and put it in their file.

You will have a lot of paperwork; come up with a system that works for that. You will have backpacks, shoes, jackets, and just stuff. When the kids get home, the first thing they are going to want to do is strip it all off and dump it. That will be their habit unless you set up a system beforehand. Get a system for paperwork. I highly recommend that you keep it by the door where the kids come in, even if it is not super pretty.

Have a system for the paperwork. Hooks for backpacks. A bin for shoes. Where do you want your kids to put their things when they come home? What system do you want to set in place so that your house isn’t overwhelmed with the things that the teacher sends home?

The other thing I would say is set alarms for pick up times. I know it might seem silly and obvious to pick up your kids from school, but when they are gone and you get into your own quiet-time headspace, or you get caught up in a younger child, it is amazing how easily you can get busy and almost miss leaving in time for pick up. Or totally miss it like I did once for Hudson. Poor little guy was sitting in the office with his little feet dangling from the chair because I was ten minutes late to get him.

Set up alarms for pick up times. Set a really annoying ringtone. Make it a repeat alarm every day, if even it gets annoying. There will come a day you will be thankful you set that alarm.

Speaking of pick up times, make use of them if you can. These were some of my favorite moments when my kids were in public school. I would leave early so I could get a great parking spot. I would use that time waiting for my kids to read a book, or listen to a podcast, and have some amazing self-care and personal growth time. It was a great in-between-the-day time for me.

It would have been easy to work and leave at the last minute to get the kids. Or send my husband and keep doing the housework. But it was a really great anchor for me in the day for self-care. It was a great time to hit the reset button for the rest of my day.

Establish open communication with your kid’s teacher. Be pleasant and friendly, not harsh and judgmental. Not every teacher, but some teachers have reservations about homeschooled kids.  It has become a kind of “war zone”.

I think being really sweet, kind, and establishing a good relationship with your child’s teacher from the beginning is incredibly helpful. It will serve you and your child well throughout the year for your teacher to like you, and to have open communication.

With each of the kid’s teachers, I sent an email after the first day to thank them for being there, ask if they had any questions. I included a little note about each child that I thought would be helpful for the teacher. I made myself available and that really helped to establish a good relationship for us.

Also, establish a set time every day that you help your kid with their homework, especially in the beginning of this transition from homeschooling. Maybe your child will be further ahead than the school, or maybe the school will be further ahead than your child. This is a transition. You are used to doing school together.

One mistake that I made was thinking all the school stuff would be off of me, and I wouldn’t have to do anything. Maybe that sounds self-centered but that’s what I thought.

Being available to help your kids with this transition during the time that you are with them, is really important because they are going to have questions. They may not be used to the different curriculum, especially if it is common core and you haven’t been using that. They may feel really dumb and feel like the school is way ahead of them. They may feel incredibly bored and unchallenged because you were further ahead than the public school system is.

I wish that I had scheduled time in my afternoon. I wish I had done more crockpot meals so I had nothing else to do when the kids got home from school but just sit with them. Be with them. Help them with their homework. Everyone was in a different level. Each child, in different ways, struggled with this transition.

Block out some time and don’t schedule any other things. Create a couple hours of space to be available to help with their homework.

Also, figure out what you want to do with your weekends. Homeschoolers are used to being together more than public schoolers are. You might find that during the weekend you are excited for some awesome, much-needed family time. You might find that your kids are bogged down with a giant load of homework that the teacher has sent home for the weekend. Set up a system for doing homework on Friday nights so that your weekends are free. Or you can have a fun family night on Friday and dedication a portion of your weekend to homework, like maybe Sunday evening.

Either way, plan ahead. Realize what you are dealing with. Maybe there will be a weekend where they won’t have any homework and that would be great. But more often than not, they will have homework. Decide and plan ahead of time so you are not feeling disappointed. That negativity and negative emotions about your kid’s school, teachers, and their homework will rub off on your kids.

Also, Bento Boxes for your kids lunches. I am going to share my affiliate link in the show notes for these because they are AMAZING. I cannot say enough about them. I shared them on my Instagram story when my kids were in school. I still have them and we use them a lot for park days.

They are basically metal boxes that have dividers in them. There’s a sandwich area, fruit area, crackers, etc. They are just awesome. They slip right inside basically any lunch box that you can get at Target, or anywhere.

They are a little pricey but we really love them. I found them from Robin Long of A Balanced Life. I saw her making her kids’ lunches in them and thought, “that’s super handy!”  They are worth the money and are so helpful. I love that my kids aren’t eating out of plastic every day. I love that they are divided. My son, Leland, hates when his food touches. I am like, so I totally get it. They keep his food separated. They are just really, really handy.

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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.  alliecasazza.com/allcourses.

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Enjoy your new-found time without your kids. I just want to give you permission. It is OK to enjoy it. It is OK to be sad that they are gone. Trust me. I balled my eyes out for the first day the kids went to school. I didn’t know for sure if there was an end in sight. I didn’t really have a strong desire to send my kids to public school. I have always had homeschooling on my heart.

But I couldn’t do everything and the business was very overwhelming. Brian and I had both made that decision that we needed something to give so we could focus and not be stretched so thin. It was very sad. It is OK to be sad. It is also OK to be happier. To enjoy the quiet time. To love it. To have some time for yourself. Time to be caught up on the housework and other things in your life. It’s OK to have a job. It’s OK to have something other than your children and enjoy this time away from them.

So now, let’s talk about going from public school to homeschooling. The first thing that I always say is to encourage you before you make the switch to research the different types of homeschooling. There are so many different styles. Find the one or two that really appeals to you. The one you feel would go with your personality and your family style.

What do I mean by that? There’s Charlotte Mason homeschool. There’s unschooling. There’s traditional homeschooling where you are basically bringing the classroom into your home. Find what works for you.

I would say you naturally gravitate towards things. For example, at first, I shied away from the traditional homeschool of bringing the school into the home. I really felt a pull towards Charlotte Mason, and unschooling. That really appealed to me.

My next point is to keep in mind that your homeschool style may change as you evolve as a homeschool mom and you get more comfortable. This happened to me. I was so drawn to the idea of unschooling. We did that for a couple of years and struggled through it.

That may sound funny, especially if you research what unschooling is. But what I ended up finding is that it just didn’t work for us. I love it. I think it is a great idea. I know a lot of people what it works well for. It just wasn’t working for us at all. I wasn’t happy. The kids weren’t happy. It just wasn’t working.

We moved away from unschooling. We kind of kept the Charlotte Mason style and I threw myself more into that. It is OK for you to change, shift, evolve. You don’t have to know it all right now.

Also, do not get sucked into the lie that you have to spend a billion dollars and have everything in the world right now. You don’t have to have everything figured out right now. I encourage you to have minimal school supplies. A minimal curriculum.

Stay away from homeschool conventions for now. I know they may seem really helpful. When we decided to pull the kids, there was a very popular homeschool convention really close to my house. I was so tempted to go.  You know what? I just got this feeling in my gut not to go.

I already knew what I was doing. I was simplifying this process for myself. If I went, I was afraid I would get falsely inspired by the wrong things. I was afraid I would be pulled to buy all this curriculum and spend money on things that are just going to overcomplicate this for me.  That was my problem in the past – that I tended to overcomplicate things, which made me overwhelmed.

I will link to a book that has been integral in shaping my homeschooling experience and philosophy since we pulled the kids out of public school and brought them back home. It is called Minimalist Homeschooling. It is by a doctor who is amazing. It is such a good book. I encourage you to read it.

The curriculum that I found had a couple of things that drew me to it. A friend, whom I really admire and I respect the way she homeschools her two boys, recommended The Good and The Beautiful by Jenny Phillips. If you go to their website you will see how homeschooling moms went from these massive piles of curriculum down to this one stack of books. It was basically a minimalist homeschool curriculum.

Of course, that drew me to it. When I researched it, I saw that, yes, it was a minimalist curriculum. They are getting a rich curriculum with amazing photos, beautiful stories and pictures. It is very Charlotte Mason inspired.

You can get digital products or paper products. I do well with paper so I ordered the physical curriculum, actual books. When I got it in the mail, it truly is as minimal as I think you can get.  I definitely have the least amount of books and stuff that I have ever had with homeschooling my kids. Bella is in third grade and we are getting to the levels where there tends to be more stuff, and there just isn’t. I have been extremely pleased with this curriculum.

Don’t get sucked into the lie that you need to spend all this money and have this “stuff.” (Check out my blog post How to Bring Minimalism into your Homeschool).

I want to talk about pulling your kids out mid-year. Perhaps you are feeling led, feeling that something just isn’t right. “I want my kids at home, but I feel like they should just finish out the school year.” Weigh that out.

It was really hard for me. It was in December. Winter break was coming.  We had put our kids into public school so we could take a year off. We didn’t want to try to be like Jesus and do it all perfectly.  We were both stretched really thin with work and schooling the kids. Tensions were really high at our house and it wasn’t working. We knew we needed to make a choice.

We took a year off of homeschooling to grow the business, delegate, and hire a bunch of new people to lessen our workload. We thought it would take us all school year but it ended up only taking us a few months. By December we were pretty much done. We had hired 6-7 new people. We were both working just a few hours a week and it was great.

We really wanted our kids home. We were torn between finishing out the school year or not. We prayerfully decided to let them get to winter break and then pull them out. They wouldn’t go back after winter break. That’s what we did and it has been the best decision that we had made so far.  I was so nervous about it. I didn’t want to damage the kids or hurt them. I didn’t want to hurt their teacher’s feelings. It was really hard.

Follow that peace. What’s going to work for you? Does it feel better to finish the year? To give yourself time and space to plan things out? Does it feel better to get them home and then figure it out? You have to prayerfully make that call.

I do want to say that I have pulled my kids out mid-year. If that is what is feeling best for you, I want to give you that empowerment/permission. You’re their mom. You know what’s best.

I would encourage you to talk to your kids openly about this transition and encourage them to be open with you in return. I think being really easy to talk to about the hard parts and not taking things personally is huge.

For example, if your kids say something like, “I miss my friends from school” or “I don’t like this homeschooling day” in the middle of a frustrating math class session, don’t take that personally. Don’t snap back at them. Don’t make them regret being open with you.

Encourage openness. Be easy to talk to. Take it as constructive criticism. Take a deep breath. Make appropriate changes. You guys are in this together. You are not perfect. You are not going to be perfect ever. You are going to make mistakes.

Everything is “figureoutable” as Marie Forleo says. This is “figureoutable” too. Take a break. Stop teaching if it gets tense. Listen to your child. Look them in the eye. Get down to their level. Talk to them. You can make changes as necessary together. You are not going to be perfect and have it all figured out right off the bat.

Also, let the kids’ previous teachers know that you are thankful for them. Whether you are pulling them out mid-year or not, I think it is important to keep that peace. Let them know that your decision to homeschool them doesn’t have anything to do with them failing or not taking care of your kids. Let them know that you are thankful for what they did for your child.

Allow time for “de-schooling” if your kids were in public school for a year or longer. Your kids get into rhythms. Kids respond really well to rhythms for homeschooling.

The schools are set up in a way that really does a good job of highlighting the fact that kids thrive under routine. It is very routine – you start school at a certain time of day, then circle time, language arts, break, then math, science, lunch, playtime. It is very regimented and scheduled and never changes.

Also group learning is totally different learning than homeschooling, even if you have a lot of siblings. It is a lot more one-on-one than a classroom setting is. You have to allow some time for your kids to adjust. That’s called “de-schooling” in the homeschooling community.

Let them get un-used to public school. Research. Look up the word “de-schooling” and find different ways you can do that. For us, it was an extended period of winter break. My kids were only in school for one semester, but I did feel like they needed a period of de-schooling, especially my son, Leland.

We had a 3 ½ winter break. It was great. We slowly eased in to homeschooling. I also have a blog post about “Why We Chose to “Soft Start’ Our Homeschool + How It Works  which I will link to. It talks about how you don’t have to hid it hard. Ease into this.

Find ways to bring those routines that worked well for your kids in public school into homeschooling without it being too regimented to where everyone is miserable.

On that note, I encourage you guys to come up with a flexible school schedule. We do a 5-day schedule. We school 5 days a week. If we skip a day here or there, it doesn’t make us fall behind in where we are supposed to be with the curriculum. It gives us some cushion.

We do homeschool through a charter school because I do really well with accountability. I like the idea that somebody is keeping records for me. That someone is watching me, making sure I do what I am supposed to do.

One of the problems with homeschooling was that I tend to get a little bit too lax, a little too focused on other things. I need that accountability. I need that checklist. “You guys need to be here by this date.” That is how I thrive in anything, but especially with homeschooling my kids. We have guidelines and deadlines. “You should be at this lesson and this subject by this date.”

We have a 5-day schedule but we don’t always do 5 days of school. Most weeks we do, but there are plenty of weeks where we do 3 or 4 days. That’s fine. It ends up all working out to where we are supposed to be when we are supposed to be there.

Decide if you want to do a 4-day school week every week. Or do you want to do a 5-day school week and be able to have some cushion. Look up different types of homeschool schedules. There are a lot of ideas. Six weeks on and one week off. Ten months on and two months off. Year-round or traditional schedule.

We do 5-days a week and year- round because we have seen our kids get completely out of the loop with a summer break. Also, we believe that learning should be happening all of the time and be child-led. It feels weird to us, as parents and teachers, to teach during the school year and then just stop during the summer.

We do a lot of unit studies, beach-themed studies during the summer, but technically we are doing school year-round, although our charter school is not.

To wrap up, let’s talk about rhythms. Rhythms will help you tremendously no matter where your kids go to school, but things can get chaotic in a difficult way when you homeschool. You need rhythms set up for basically everything. Your housework. Your work schedule, whether you work at home or outside of the home. Your laundry. Your schooling. Everything that has to do with you and your role.

Rhythms are going to cut your to-do list more than in half. Because it is no longer a to-do list.  You have rhythms set up for things that just need to happen for your life to flow smoothly. It is no longer a to-do list; it is just habit. That is mentally freeing.

I want you to get my free Developing Rhythms Workbook. It is one of my Fan Favorite free downloads from me. It is a workbook that will help you figure out what rhythms are. How they are going to help you. What yours should be. When you should do them. The whole shebang.  If you go through this Free Rhythms Workbook, you will end up with an amazing set of rhythms that will help you in your life and in your role.

Go get that!

I am excited for you guys! No matter why you are listening to this. If there is a transition possibly coming. If you are in a transition. If you just did a transition and it went terribly or it went amazing. I am praying for you guys. I know how hard this can be.

Remember, no matter what’s going on, what decisions you have made so far, or what decisions you are thinking about making, YOU ARE AN AMAZING MOTHER!!

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This was an episode of The Purpose Show.  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, head to alliecasazza.com for free downloads, courses, classes and to learn more about what the next step might look like for you.  I am always rooting for you. See ya next time!