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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Honey, Don't Hold Back & Other Lessons Learned from
International Women's Day

Last Thursday, on International Women's Day, I graduated from therapy. 

My therapist and I met for about two months; and I was running out of things to talk about.

It was like a breakup of sorts; like breaking up with an aunt. Looking at a person who you've grown to trust and care for, and deciding to end your relationship with them. At least on that level.

She and I had gone deep really quickly. Because, well, when you're paying someone to talk about your fears, emotions and perfectionistic history, you don't want to waste anyone's time.

Or maybe it's more to do with the fact that you have a perfectionistic history and, well, if you're going to go to therapy you want to A. be the best at it and B. be your therapist's favorite client.

But the depression and anxiety I was facing had run its craggy course. It was like waking up in a different time zone, or the first evening after daylight saving: suddenly you wake up and it's still daylight at 7 p.m.

The world, it seems, is a little brighter. Anxieties are easier to manage. You look your beasts square in the eye. You march straight up to them. Because trying to ignore them only makes them more powerful.

You realize that if you've come this far with the beasts of self-doubt, anxiety, depression, negative self-talk and still managed to get out of bed, keep an infant alive, maintain an employed status at a full-time job and juggle with some freelance opportunities on the side, that you could do so, so much more.

If only you could work through what it is that holds you back.

It was a powerful, wise woman who helped me sort out my stuff. And we all have our stuff.

The same day, it was a group of powerful women who stood with me, arms linked as we prayed for a a friend who was deeply hurting. It was the same day that I got to brag about the female leadership in my workplace and how none of us have ever had to question if we were getting compensated fairly or if we were looked down upon because we were women.

We're respected. And if we're not, we're too busy to look over our shoulders, anyway.

This is what it's like to be a woman: to battle the anxiety, the depression, the fear, the loneliness, the doubts, the heartbreak and to have the strength to rise and do it all better the next day.

To nurse our children.

To chase after careers.

To be better wives.

To be better friends.

To battle noise that says we should be this not that. 

Thin, not fat. 

Vibrant, not grey.

Calm, not loud.

Republican, not anything else.

Sponges of miscalculated doctrine, not free-thinkers and meditators.

Stubborn, not graceful.

Thin, not fat. Thin, not fat. Thin, not fat.

But imagine with me, friend. Imagine as I did on my last day of therapy as I stood from that Kleenex-box green couch, empowered and emboldened.

Imagine your life – your very same life with all the same trimmings and trappings but with one life-altering difference:

To be unashamedly your very own self. 

And to not hold back for the rest of your ever-loving life.


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Attacking the Adult Witching Hour - One-Week #ProdigalSisChallenge!

My evening routine needs more than a facelift. 

It needs total reconstructive surgery.

So many articles on the interwebs *pushes up glasses on nose* talk about breaking through the morning routine. Articles like "the five best ways to make the most of your morning..." or

And maybe I'm alone in my struggle, but the morning is so not where I struggle. Mornings make us new. They're a fresh start. A chance to begin again.

Am I always high energy in the morning? Certainly not.

But I'm not just talking about being a "morning person" versus an "evening person."

What I mean is that after a long day, when all the spinning plates of the tyrant we named "urgent" have slowed, and my child is asleep, I lack the gumption I need to do what it is I truly love.

It's not just about goal setting. At nighttime I am more likely to: 

Scroll mindlessly through Instagram/Facebook.

Neglect exercise.

Binge eat stuff that's bad for me.

Zone out to Netflix.

Forego chores like dishes and laundry that I know I'll regret not doing the next morning.

Fall asleep on the couch at 9:30 p.m. with my contacts permanently fused to my eyeballs.


I am more likely to not: 

Be creative.

Engage in meaningful conversations with people I love.

Leave the couch, or take any major steps to my goals outside of my day job and duties of motherhood.

It's about more than being tired after a long day, or adjusting to new motherhood.

It's about gearing up for the time of day, mentally, I know I'm more likely to fall off the beaten path.

It's about putting boundaries in place for myself so that when I'm faced with the temptation to flump on the couch (yes, that is the technical word for it..."flump") and neglect housework and preparations for the next day, I'll be more likely to power through.

So I put out an ask on Instagram and man alive, did my people come through with practical tips for overhauling my evenings. I'm going to do the following for one week straight and track my progress. If you'd like to do the same, comment below and post about it on Instagram or Facebook using #prodigalsischallenge!

Put Your Phone in Another Room

For many, the first step seemed to be the hardest: leaving your phone in another room.

Because someone might need me! I have no trouble putting my phone on "do not disturb" while I'm working or on a date night (checking in periodically on the sitter for my little one). Why don't I treat dinnertime or time for personal development with the same consideration?

Honestly, I think there's something there: committing to myself with the same level I'd commit to anything or anyone else.

If there's one time of day I'm willing to let my day get interrupted with Instagram or Facebook notifications, it's at dinner time. Or the first real few moments I have with connecting with my husband. In those moments, I'm telling my family that Instagram is more important than they are.
Is Instagram more important than the man I stood up in front of 200 of my closest friends and committed my life to? I think not!

Making a List Before You Get Home

This is one of my favorite suggestions: make a list of three things you'd like to get done while you're home for the evening. Laundry? Dishes? Paying a bill? Calling a friend? Writing 1,000 words? Taking a bubble bath? Doing a workout?

Whatever it is, write it down. It's easier to commit to it if you can see it.

And even if you only get around to one thing on your list, that's OKAY! It's already more than you would've accomplished on a night spent flumping on the couch.

Turning Off the Television

This one is going to be the hardest for me. We always have the television on. Our two-bedroom condo has an open space and if the t.v. is on in the living room, it's basically on in the whole house. And now that the new season of Marvel's Jessica Jones is upon us it's going to get even more difficult.

But, I don't want to have spent my life watching television when I could've been building a business, making healthy choices or hanging out with my friends.

Setting a Deadline

This is my mom's trick. She never sits down.


She's a one-woman hustle-beehive. I asked her about it once and she said that if she lets herself sit down even for a moment after a long day of work, the tired sets in.

You can set whatever deadline works best for you - but I will work on not getting snuggled up under a blanket on the couch until nine p.m.

In our house, I get home from work at six and my son  goes to bed roughly around 7:30. If I dedicate just an hour and a half of time to working toward any goal in that space and allow myself one episode of Jessica Jones (instead of three), that's a lifestyle change I can get behind.

Put a Timer on It

It's a tried and true trick I learned from The Lazy Genius: For cleanup when the house has gotten completely out of hand, I'll set a timer on our Alexa (you don't have to be that fancy - any timer will do) for fifteen minutes.

My husband and I will do a mad hustle to pick up, sweep, wash, vacuum anything in our path. You'd be surprised what a difference it makes - and how long 15 minutes really is when you're focused on one task.

Grace for Mondays

I've just learned, Mondays are hard for everyone in our house. I'm back to work after a weekend with my main men, my son is adjusting to not having his mom in arm's reach around the clock and my husband is readjusting to doing schoolwork, watching the baby all day and meal prepping for the week.

We need a night to rest and not put pressure on ourselves after a high-volume day. If you choose to do this, pick a day that works for your natural rhythm.

So, What do you say?

I'm committing to doing the following every night (with exception of Mondays) for one week. Follow along in my progress on Instagram. If you want to have your own weeknight hustle challenge, post it with #ProdigalSisChallenge! I'll be picking one lucky participant to win a copy of my new favorite book, Girl, Wash Your Face! By Rachel Hollis.

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