Personally and Professionally – At Home With Natalie

Starting in August I went through a rough season.
I won’t say the hardest. Hardest by far was the 5 months of Hunter’s colick.
But this was a close runner up in RECENT years of CHALLENGING DAYS.
Last Summer we moved back to the Charlotte, NC area. SO happy we made that choice!
Ben got a different job that wasn’t as flexible as I was used to… but a great job.
We were settling into our new normal…and I was loading my plate up more than ever.
I had to do a lot of solo parenting because of schedules and no one was used to that.
I was isolating myself and filling up every space in life with work and to-do’s.
The kids felt like more of a handful because I was so exhausted and impatient.
The overwhelm was boiling over into all the areas of my life.
I want to share with you though
—what made me want to change…
—specifically what I did, starting in February…
—and the insane results when I applied it ALL in March!
I’m a wife. I have 5 kids. I have three big kids in school and two at home all day.
No house cleaner or childcare. I work at home a flexible but full time job.
Today I wanted to share the things I put into place to battle stress
and overwhelm that comes with this life!
The life I LOVE and choose– but I wanted to live BETTER.
All these things I share don’t make the hard go away….
they’ve just made it easier for me to live those hard moments!
I went through some HARD HARD things this month.
But I feel like I was better equipped to get through them
because of how I was looking at my days.
I was talking with Ben about this past month (most of what I’m sharing with you today!)
and he commented on how he saw my improved mood this past month.
I could tell he was nervous to touch on that topic hahaha but…I got what he meant!
I didn’t feel as chaotic about life and it made everyone happier.
I was HAPPIER this past month even with really SAD or hard things going on.
I didn’t cry every day like I was those months before, because of mama overwhelm.
Now girl, I had plenty of pull my hair out moments.
I have 5 kids…lol. But they’re KIDS. (I can’t expect them to act like adults!)
But… I feel like I was setting myself up to do the job better.

I have a tendency to give myself more things to do when I’m overwhelmed.
It makes NO SENSE I know.
Some people slow down/get stuck when they feel overwhelmed…
I do the opposite. Doing all the things- but not efficiently and it causes stress.
causes mama crying every day
because she can’t handle what she thinks she should be able to handle.
I don’t know where you fall in there….. but as moms we go through different seasons.
Some harder than others.
I did not respond well to this last change of season.
I closed up. I overloaded my plate. I felt inadequate and isolated.
I was grouchier to my husband and kids- which led to more attitude from them
which led to even harder parenting moments – it’s all connected.
If we aren’t good…it overflows into other areas of our life.
especially our kids, marriage and how we work.

I’m telling you all of this because as I went into February….
I can’t put pause on life. I don’t have the luxury of choosing just the “fun stuff” or “easy stuff.”
But….I can change up HOW I live it!
So I broke my life down with sticky notes. haha.
I legit got a pack of sticky notes and one day after kids went to bed I wrote
down all the things most important to me. I thought hard on some of them. Some I hadn’t ever put onto paper
and that’s probably a big reason why I never achieved them.
I stuck them all up on the wall in order from top to bottom on what was MOST important.
Taking a step back I realized some things needed to be rearranged…
Some things had to move to the bottom of the totem pole.
So now…I saw at a glance what I WANTED to fit into my life….. what was most important.
I kept these sticky notes up for most of the month. Until Asher actually got to them haha.
BUT the point is…it was a reminder for me.
When I felt the urge to really pour into one area…I made sure it lined up with my priorities.
HOW did I do that? That was my next step…..
*** This is us on St. Patrick’s Day. we don’t always wear matching green. haha.***

I have always been a list girl.
I make lists and add to that list as the day goes on.
Sometimes I add stuff to it that I already did just to mark it off.
I realized my lists were actually causing a lot of my overwhelm.
I put stuff on there for that day that was UNREALISTIC for me to do(in that day)…
and so when the day ended and I saw my giant to do list and all the things I didn’t get done…
Well, I had many nights where I beat myself up in bed thinking I FAILED.
Failed as a homemaker, a wife, a mom, a Christian, a business owner, a friend.
We are our worst critic. We can pick ourselves a part.
I was setting myself up for failure with those lists.
So… I changed it up.
Hard for me.
I decided that I was going to ONLY put my top 5 tasks for the next day. (give or take)
They had to be things I could ACTUALLY do that day… not things that I WANTED to do sometime in the month.
I had to be honest with myself. reality checks can be hard…we like to think we can do whatever we want. haha.
I was an all the browser windows open|tabs full… kind of girl.
Bouncing from one idea to the next.
I made unrealistic to-do lists…
all good things I should/could do.. but not all at once.
I can’t film 4 videos, do all the laundry, keep 5 kids alive, finalize 5 brand contracts,
train/cheer on my book team, run my book business,
write/photograph/post a blog post, make dinner, shower, work out, pray, have dinner with a friend,
spend time with the hubby, clean out the linen closet etc etc….NOT GONNA HAPPEN.
So…those top 5 or so tasks were my new simplified way to tackle the next day.
I gave myself one small organization themed task every day.
Even if it was something small like – clean out the silverware drawer.
Completing it made me feel GOOD… and it kept me motivated to keep on organizing.
I set limits on work tasks by being specific with them in the list.
If I wrote down I was going to message back 10 brands about collabs I wasn’t going to keep
on working on that just because the kids were playing happy.
I was going to mark that off… and move on.
I used to think oh I’m being so productive and zooming through this and kids are napping
so I’ll keep working and then all of a sudden I spent way too much time on
that one task that day and other things were neglected. Best example: the home was
falling a part and I couldn’t consistently keep up.

I bought a dry erase board from Target’s bargain bins.
As I started off March… I wrote March Goals at the top…
I set super specific tasks/goals–that all pointed back to my main priorities on those sticky notes.
These monthly goals were there as a daily reminder…breaking down, even more for me, how to
keep those important things at the top of my focus.
I was able to feel LESS STRESS over completing them. I knew that when I woke up I didn’t need to jump right
onto the computer or immediately unload the linen closet
(only to leave it unloaded and unfinished at the end of the day lol.)
I worked much smarter.
Not always perfectly. plenty of days I backtracked in my habits..
BUT, majority of the time I stuck with this new vision and game plan and IT WORKED FOR ME.

I created my morning tasks that helped me START the day with the right mindset.
I live in a family of mostly morning people and over the years they stole my nocturnal-ness from me.
Now I’m just stuck in this middle land of not a morning person not a night person haha.
But you gotta just buckle down and do the things.
So Morning was usually where I would wake up feeling defeated and overwhelmed before the day even STARTED.
Some of the crazy calmed down with my new choices but honestly… a lot of it stayed the same.
I MEAN… 3 year olds are 3 year olds haha.
The difference was…I reacted to things better.

—Coffee. drink it. smell it. just get it in me. and then we can talk.
JK my kids don’t follow that rule ha!
Someone is usually crying or doing opera before I even open my eyeballs!

—Load of laundry. Get.  it.  going.
You can do laundry like a zombie. it’s simple enough I can’t screw it up too bad.
BUT… the main reason I go into that laundry room is because
I printed out my positive words and hung it up in there.
I blogged about that whole thing here in my
10 Simple Things to Reduce Stress as Moms.
The goal for the printable and that space makeover was for me to help myself refocus
(starting in the am but all through the day- since I typically do multiple loads a day.)
I throw those clothes in the washing machine and I say those words.
I look at the photos I put up around it… my people. I focus in.
I remind myself I am capable. I am calm. I am patient. I am kind.
my heart is grateful.
I once had someone DM me asking who He was..hahaha.
I was like oh sorry, Jesus. lol.
It. helped. SO. much. This all started in February for me…
and then I put all the systems in place for March and that’s where I REALLY saw the change.
Simple. so dang simple. But it was my reset before the day even really began.

—I usually did a load of dishes first thing. sometimes the hubby did that part.
And then around 8 is when I would end up sitting at my computer to work.
and by sitting… I mean for a few minutes before a child needs me and I get up again.
But I go into that “work time” being realistic with myself.
I also don’t have that crazy long to-do list…
I know exactly what I need to focus on in the “Free” time I have.

This system worked for me for March.
Our house was the most pulled together it’s been since we moved here.
I had the most financial success and team booming month for my Book Team.
I lined up the most money/contracts with Brands than I had in months with my blog.
I felt more connected with my husband even though we had less date nights.
I felt friendships blooming with local moms and excited about my local community.
I put my own personal interests on my priority list and was able to ENJOY things I used to enjoy.
I did not hit all of my goals….
There are plenty of things on my dry erase board that did not get marked off.
But I don’t feel like I failed. I SURPASSED by THOUSANDS
what I was trying to do for my business. (blog and books)
I didn’t finish my room makeover/organization- that HAS to go to the top of my list next month.
I can look at it for next month and evaluate it.
See why I didn’t hit goals and see if they should even be there this next month or not!
One of the goals not marked off…
blogging twice a week. Ya know what.. it just didn’t happen.
But I think a big part of why it didn’t happen is because I was forcing it or overthinking
how people would respond to something(even if I WANTED to share it.)
I wasn’t pausing to think about what I wanted to write about and so I just stopped in that area.
I have a new game plan already for my blog and next month… focusing more on the
things I WANT to share and not what I think people will PIN or get me likes.
That can be tricky to navigate but I always want this space to be authentic and ME.
Hopefully you stick around for it. I want to challenge myself – and do things on
here that I have put off for a while. I’m excited for April!

I hope that you go into April feeling better equipped.
Maybe you’re going through a rough season…
Try out some of these things!
—Get sticky notes and write out your priorities for your life/BIG goals/most important things in your life……
—-Get a dry erase board and write out your APRIL Goals…
(keeping in mind your big picture priorities on your sticky notes.)
—-Every night write out super specific tasks for the next day.
—–Start your morning with the right. mindset…
create a printable with your own positive words.
or print mine.
CHOOSE… to do motherhood without wishing it away….
and keeping your priorities in clear view. Go after them.
BE OK with hard days- where you just have to
throw in the towel and do less- and ENJOY this season.
Because we are gonna blink and it’ll be over.
The old ladies are right!! I know!! haha.

Marriage is hard. Motherhood is hard.
Having your own business is hard.
Moving is hard.
Finding your people is hard.
But in themselves, so many of these hard things are GOOD things…
that I’m lucky enough are in God’s plan for my life.
So I want to live them well. I’m sure you do too…
so I hope, if you feel in the thick of it, this post was helpful!
You can do this! Take some time to pray and reflect and equip yourself for April!
I’m excited for April and applying all of it again!

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