Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Reclaiming Mama Mojo

A guest post on the fabulous blog, Working Moms Break
Most jobs aren’t made for people who have children. Which is one of the reasons a lot of moms and dads start their own businesses. Lately several blog readers have been asking for advice or stories about this. So I asked Heather Sobieralski to write a guest post about why she decided to start her own business.
Heather has two kids, is a life coach for moms, and also works part time as a middle school counselor. You can read more about her coaching services at My Mama Mojo, or about her own journey of motherhood on her blog.
Why did you decide to start your own business?
It’s something I was called to do.
When I first became a mother, life I as knew it changed. I felt as though everything I had previously known from my pre-child self was gone. My confidence disappeared. I had no I idea who this woman was occupying my body. I was embarrassed and ashamed that I was not enjoying motherhood. I was supposed to be happy right?

Monday, November 15, 2010

How many activities are your children in?

A guest post on Sane Moms

Do you wake up early and rush to get ready (and sometimes still leave the house with wet hair)?  Do you rush the kids to get up and get going – so you can rush them through breakfast, rush them to school and rush yourself to work?  Do you rush around all day at work so you can leave on time and rush home so you are not late for the bus or day care pick up?  Do you rush through homework, so you can rush to after school activities, rush to come home to make dinner, cram food down your throats, rush through baths, reading and bed … to rush off to sleep so you have the energy to do it all again the next day?
If this sounds familiar, you are not alone!
Some of this is the life of a mother, but other parts can be avoided.  How many activities are your children involved in?  How many commitments do you have during the week?  Is there anything you can start crossing off your list?
I know some children and families thrive on lots of activities and scheduled events.  Most kids I know are in 2-4 activities at a time.  A good friend of mine has a first grader who has something every day of the week, and is as happy as a clam. If I were her mother, I would have a nervous breakdown.  I don’t like to rush.  I don’t like to be over scheduled and I need family down time.  My kids say they want to do it all…dance, music, art, soccer, martial arts – you name it. I have enrolled my kids in more then one activity at a time, and it didn’t work so well.  They were stressed, they didn’t enjoy their time, and I felt like I was paying tuition to drag them to participate.   It wasn’t fun for any of us.  This year they were allowed to pick one activity.  My 5-year-old daughter wanted to take dance, and my three year old chose to stay home and play with his toys-works for me!
Our mornings are still a bit frazzled, but our evenings are so much more relaxed.  We have no commitments on the weekends.  We don’t rush through our tasks; we take our time and connect with each other.  The kids even get bored every once in a while and are forced to use their imaginations and think outside the box – instead of being entertained by outside stimuli. I don’t know how long the one activity rule will be in effect, but for now, it works.  It works for them and it works for me.
Have you found your happy medium?
Heather is a life coach for moms, a middle school counselor and a mama who is committed to rocking her mojo! She has two extremely “spirited,” independent and strong-willed children who test her, teach her and exhaust her…several times a day!  You can read more about her atMy Mama Mojo.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Happiness is like a butterfly

A guest post on Owning Pink

Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder... - Henry David Thoreau

The Chase
For many months I had been working every spare (and some not so spare) moments to launch a life coaching business. I had neglected spending precious time with my kids, I had completely ignored my husband and I felt obsessed. My hunger and vision for this company was dictating my life, my time and my happiness. Despite all of this time and energy, I was not getting the results I desired. I absolutely LOVED the coaching part, but I absolutely DID NOT LOVE the business part. I was stressed, unhappy and unfulfilled. I knew something had to give, but I wasn't sure how to start my new way of thinking or how to implement my new call to action...until I saw my daughter dance with a butterfly.

The Story
The story starts several months ago when I ordered my daughter a butterfly kit. In the kit came with five caterpillars in a transparent jar and a much larger enclosed net for when the caterpillars turned into butterflies. My daughter loved these little caterpillars. She took them everywhere. She talked about them to anyone who would listen and showed anyone who cared to look. The caterpillars grew three times their size, and with in ten days or so, they and turned into chrysalis. During this delicate time, my daughter was their protector, making sure nobody moved or bumped them. She was extra careful to put them in their new netting when they were ready for their new home. She watched these chrysalis all day and still talked about them incessantly. She loved these living things and took great pride in caring for them. One day we woke up and one of the butterflies had come out! For the next several days we watched the remaining butterflies fly in the netting. My daughter really launched in to care-taking mode now. She fed them oranges, watermelon and sugar water every morning. She sang to them, told them stories and would still talk to anyone who would listen about her "pets".
Then the day came to let them go. I was proud of her for understanding that the butterflies would live a happier life being free despite wanting to keep them confined for her enjoyment. With tears in her eyes, she said goodbye and let them go. For weeks afterward, she still talked about these butterflies nonstop. She wondered what they were doing. She looked for them anytime we were outside. She dreamed of seeing them again and she was quite sad before bedtime, when she thought about them the most.

Then one day she just stopped asking. I don't know why, she just turned her attention to other things.

It was weeks later and we were swimming in a pool, in a different state. This painted lady (the kind of butterfly she raised) came to play with her. The butterfly would dive into her, land on her, and fly away-as if asking to play. It did this several time in a row. It was quite a spectacle, as even strangers were getting their cameras out to capture this dance of a little girl and a butterfly. My daughter was finally at peace in her decision to let the butterflies go.
The Interpretation
I had always loved the butterfly quote by Thoreau. I even used to have it framed on my wall. It wasn't until in my own struggle at "chasing life" that I began to interpret this quote in a practical way. My happiness -- or at least my self worth -- had been wrapped up in the success of business. I had a plan for how many clients I would have by a certain timeframe, and my "happiness" was eluding me. I was so caught up in what wasn't happening that I started to doubt my ability as a coach, and even the indescribable pull that lead me to wanting to help mothers. I thought I had made a mistake. 
The release
I took what I had just witnessed with my daughter and the butterfly, the Thoreau quote which I had read at least 300 times over my lifetime, and the numerous Owning Pink posts on asking the Universe for something and then just...letting go. Letting go was a foreign concept to me. I am a doer, always in action. How was I to grow a business doing nothing? Do theory this is easy -- in reality, not so much. I even have trouble relaxing in a bathtub, let alone throwing my hands up and asking the Universe to take care of my business. In all honesty, I realized that I couldn't "DO" any more. As unnatural as it was to me, I had to practice letting go. I stopped talking about coaching to everyone I knew. I stopped obsessing about all the stuff I thought I had to do to launch a successful business. I stopped spending hours everyday on the computer networking. I reconnected with why I wanted to help mothers and why I was called to coaching. I spent time replenishing myself and my relationships. I thought about other times in my life that I felt like I was banging my head against the wall, then I looked back and I was exactly where I needed to be every step of the way. I surrendered and decided to let the Universe take over. I just let go and hoped it would happen when it was supposed to.

And then it happened, The clients came. Not only did the clients come, but the "perfect clients" came. These were the clients I visualized when I was going through my strange, surreal experience of being called to help other women in their quest to find happiness. When it finally happened, it was not forced or strained. It was not because of my networking, or marketing or obsessing. It  really required no effort whatsoever. It was completely natural, because I let go, I stopped chasing, and the Universe said it was time.

What is eluding you no matter how hard you chase it? Have you ever had an experience of letting go and allowing the Universe to deliver when the time was right?
Heather Sobieralski
Life Coach for Moms

Monday, November 1, 2010

When is the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone?

A guest post on Sane Moms

I am fairly spontaneous.  I like to think I am open minded enough to try almost anything given the opportunity (I just couldn’t jump out of that plane though).  I may not be the one scratching the wild ideas off my list, but if someone else wants to try something new, I am a sure bet to go with them.
My husband and I were on a weekend getaway for our 10-year anniversary in Berkley Springs, West Virginia this month.  After breakfast on Saturday morning, we drove to a state park for a hike.  As we were looking for trail markers, we saw a sign that said,  “skeet shooting”.   My husband lit up and said, “Have you ever shot a gun?”  I laughed out loud and said, “Me, really? When in the world would I have ever shot a gun?”  Then he asks, “Would you like to shoot a gun?”  My husband continues to probe about the gun shooting.  He encourages me by saying, “It is really fun and should be on my bucket list.”  Well sure, what the hell, let’s go shoot some guns!
Anyone who knows me is surely laughing hysterically at this point in the story.  I am about as peaceful as you get.  I avoid conflict; I am a strict vegetarian and take every bug I find in my house outside without harm.  I have no need for guns.  But I have to tell you, shooting a gun is soooo much fun!  After I got the hang of loading the 20 gauge shot gun, putting it to my shoulder, removing the safety, fingers in position, situating it on my cheek and pulling, I actually had a fairly good shot.  I hit 6/23 clay disks!
I walked away from this experience feeling empowered by my new skill.  Not because of the obvious force of a gun, but because I had challenged myself at something so foreign and intimidating to me.  Will I shoot a gun again for fun? Maybe.  Will I have the moxie to try something else so far out of my comfort zone? Absolutely yes!
When is the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone?  
Is there something you are itching to try, but are too intimidated?