Coaching military spouses individually and in small groups, writing and speaking on military spouse topics. Their mission is to empower spouses to pursue careers that align with their values, skills, and interests and; complement their military lifestyle.
Grab a cup of coffee and join me on Monday January 28th at noon eastern for free tele-class. This 30 minute content rich course will feel like self care but you will also see results.
The best way to ensure a successful 2019 is to create a vision for the year and then set goals, create a plan, and take action!!! I will show you a simple way to create change in each area of your life. Download my free quiz on where you are at and then we will create a plan on how to get to where you want to be. I can’t wait to “see” you on this live call.
Once you create an overall vision of how you want your summer to look and feel, you need to “work the plan” or the days will all begin to run together and next thing you know, you’ll look up and it will be September already. I mean, how often have you heard the question, “Where did the summer go?”
Avoid this feeling by planning out each week the same way you do during the productive parts of the year. Even if you’re scheduling downtime, it’s good to sit down and map out a plan before military life starts to feel too chaotic. At the beginning of each new week, I sit down on Sunday nights, look at the days ahead, and think about what I will do for exercise, for work, and for family time. While these activities are tweaked during the summer compared to how they look during the school year, I need to map them out just the same. If I don’t, I find myself running around after the kids and getting cranky about not fitting in my workout, writing time, or a date night and starting to feel like I’m drowning in laundry quicksand.
When mapping out your weekly plan for the intense summer months, use whatever works for you—whether it’s a schedule on your smartphone, a wall calendar, or a paper planner like mine. The bottom line is that if you don’t plan things out, the summer will take control of you instead of you taking control of the summer.
Planning things out ahead of time makes it much easier to enjoy the “days off” purposefully. While scheduling leisure time may seem counter-intuitive, it’s essential to make sure that fun actually makes it into the plan. Follow my additional tips below to help make this summer one to remember.
Military Kids Need Tech-Free Time
Effective summer planning means planning activities and planning for downtime, tech-free time, and me time. All kids are going to benefit from downtime, but military families on the go with so much change and ongoing stress really need that time to process their emotions and unwind and connect with mom (and dad when he’s home) and their siblings and community. This is also important for adults. I saw a seminar on screen time given by a professional psychologist and when a parent asked how to get their teenager to stop going off to their room and texting for hours, the presenter said, “Put your own phone in a basket in the kitchen at 7pm and stop in their room for a goodnight chat and I bet in a week or two you’ll see a big difference in their behavior.” This was an eye-opening tip for all of us, and a lesson in practicing what you preach—how many of us are glued to our phones 24/7?
We have a “no Fortnite” (video game) rule during the school week that’s sometimes hard to follow. Once dinner is picked up, sports are over, and homework is done comes the, “but mommy, pleaaaasssee?” As I’m about to cave, I say firmly, “No Lucas, it’s a neighborhood rule.” I’m secretly imagining all the laundry and writing I could get done if I just let him play. But what I see happen after my “no” and his protests of “but I’m bored” is magical. I said no to him as I was writing this blog and about 10 minutes afterwards, he and my younger daughter Sierra started building a fort with a blanket in the living room right next to my laptop. Sure, they’re a bit distracting while I blog but I also hear laughter and imagination at work—and that’s really cool. I’m reminded that what seems easier at first isn’t always what’s best for them, and I know that an electronics-free night playing a family board game or building an impromptu fort is just what the doctor ordered.
I’m working on thinking of some creative summer rules that ensure we all get some tech-free time. In our home, we’re great at “no tv, no video games” during the school week, but I struggle with establishing reasonable summer rules. What suggestions do you have regarding keeping screen time at bay when the summer months arrive? Please share your tips with me in the comments below.
Scheduling Time In The Summer With Family
As military spouses, we often don’t live close to extended family and rarely get the opportunity to travel. Since the holidays are an expensive time to travel, the summer might be the perfect opportunity to take that road trip to see family. Or perhaps you can invite family to come visit you. One military spouse said that summer was a great time to book a road trip with a girlfriend and their kids.
If visiting family is too expensive, is there a family summer ritual that could be fun? Facetiming grandma on Sunday nights? Sending artwork the kids make to grandpa in a nursing home? Try to find opportunities to treat family moments in a way that gives everyone involved something to look forward to. Think about tying in a few things that would be fun, perhaps seeing a baseball game and visiting an uncle and aunt. Things like that can get put on the calendar and give everyone something to look forward to.
We’ve taken bigger trips as a family, but we don’t do this every summer—it’s about figuring out what’s realistic for your budget so that you don’t get to the end of the summer and feel like it’s the day after Christmas. Try to plan out what you want to do over the months the kids are home, stick to the budget, and spend consciously.
This summer we decided to celebrate my youngest daughter’s birthday with concert tickets instead of hosting a big party for her. We all watch American Idol as a family, so I got tickets to an American Idol concert for a fun family activity. That way, we can all look forward to surprising her with the tickets and a night out in Boston after the concert. If you follow me on social media, I’ll be sure to get a photo of Sierra’s face when she sees Gaby, her favorite American idol contestant, singing for her live! Splurging on a fun family activity can be worth it since you’re creating family memories that will last a long time.
Think about something your family enjoys as much as we enjoy our family TV night and plan something that’s meaningful to you. Do you have a favorite sport, a city that you would all love taking a road trip to, or a park or museum in your hometown that you haven’t gone to yet? What can you put on that summer calendar that will have you motivated and excited before, during, and after? Plan it out and share in the comments if you have some ideas that other military spouse families may enjoy.
Military Spouses Need ME TIME!
Family time is fabulous, but you also need some me time. Me time for military spouses isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. I remember when my kids were little and I couldn’t afford a babysitter as much as I wanted, so sometimes “me time” was literally a long bath after I got the fourth baby in bed. I would buy a trashy magazine, light a candle, pour a seltzer over crushed ice, and let myself have a much needed moment to myself. This is so important for our mental health.
With the kids home from school, whether you work or not, the vibe around your home is bound to change during the summer months. And as nice as it is to have the kids home, there’s less quiet time for you, so make sure to plan for that.
As a busy military spouse, how are you going to commit to daily me time to keep your sanity?
This time for yourself doesn’t have to be expensive, it could be something as easy as committing to a daily facial regimen. Or renting a funny movie and popping some popcorn. It could even involve stretching, meditation, or just a walk around the neighborhood.
For me, there’s nothing like waking up a few minutes before the kiddos, sipping my tea, and opening up my journal to reflect on my gratitude and listen to the birds chirping. Julia Cameron, author of the seminal text on nurturing creativity, The Artist’s Way, reminds me to pay attention to the beauty of the world that constantly surrounds me. I take a moment to recognize this pleasant reality each morning by writing in my journal, regularly going on artist dates either alone or with my children, and just consciously paying more attention to the positive details of life and focusing on the things you want to truly attract into your life.
How do you make time for yourself in the midst of the chaos of military life? Share your “me time” hacks in the comments below.
Summer may be the time for vacations and fun, but it can also be an incredibly stressful season for moms in general, and military spouses specifically. Having the kids at home all day can create a feeling of chaos and disorder that quickly becomes overwhelming. I’ve found that the best way to avoid overwhelm is to create a summer routine that brings some order into our lives, without making it overly structured.
Set The Tone For Each Day
Setting the tone for the day is an excellent way to start things off right, and it can also help your summer routine go smoother. One way to approach it is to think of the images that you have on your vision board and try to manifest them by acting the part. My clients may post photos on their vision boards of super fit, super happy working moms or of couples walking hand in hand and kids frolicking around the kitchen table. The best way to attract this vision board life into our real life is to act “as if” until that lifestyle we’ve imagined becomes more of a reality.
I have fun with this by dressing up “as if” I’m a well-known writer, or a mother that has things more together, or an athlete on the way to the gym. Dressing the part can help you feel better about yourself until your self esteem catches up with you. Try it out for fun. If you’re feeling a bit like you’re in a rut, iron your jean shorts, put on a favorite top, paint your nails, and put on a smile before you go grocery shopping—and see if it makes a difference in your attitude.
Start The Day As Your Best Military Spouse Self
I’ve talked about creating a morning routine on my Military Spouse Show podcast, and it’s great to continue this routine in the summer if you want to and are able. However, if you’d like to change up your morning routine or if your schedule changes during the summer, now is a great time to create a new routine!
There’s something magical about getting up before the rest of the house wakes up; you have to give it a try. Work on accommodating your routine to the altered summer schedule. Maybe you’re used to taking a morning walk when the kids go to school—now you might shift these plans and go on a family walk in the afternoon. Or maybe going to sleep earlier and waking to a quiet, restful setting is an adjustment that will serve you best during this chaotic time of year. As you plan for the summer, spend some real time thinking about your morning rituals and what you need to do to fit everything into each day. For example, on days when I can’t make it to the gym I ask my 11-year-old son to play a little basketball in the driveway; it’s a great way for us to bond and for me to get a little bit of exercise. You’d be surprised by how much you can sweat playing just 10 minutes of basketball!
Another way to begin your day as the best version of yourself is by dressing for success. Yes, that may sound cliché, but when I put on a nice outfit and light makeup, I find that I tend to get more leads and business opportunities. If you dress as if you’re living a vital life, it’s contagious. I’ll have people at the nail salon ask me for my business card and want to book a life coaching appointment. So dress up (just a little) and get out there, even with the kids, and market yourself.
No, this doesn’t mean wearing a three-piece suit every morning, but rather dressing up like the most successful version of a military spouse as you can. Your outfit can trigger your brain to get into action, motivating you toward success and making marketing whatever you’re involved in so much easier!
Keep A Daily Routine In The Summer Months
If your family schedule changes in the summer with the kids out of school, consider creating a modified routine to help structure the loads of downtime they have this season. My friend Kim, a military spouse and stay-at-home mom, decided to create a daily schedule for her kids and post it on the white board in her kitchen. It looked like day camp, but she swears that scheduling snack time at 10 am and cooking dinner/kids’ video game time at 4 pm works for her family—and helps her keep their meals and her sanity intact.
I love this tip! Think about the type of schedule that will best serve your family. If your husband is home, do you have ten minutes to connect over a cup of coffee before the kids are up? Can you schedule a family dinner hour that works? My husband and I tend to “divide and conquer” over the summer. So I’ll feed three kids while he takes our fourth to summer baseball (on those days I make sure to give my baseball star a little extra snuggle time). Whether it’s breakfast and a family walk in the morning or quiet/reading time after lunch and an outdoor activity in the late afternoon, designating blocks of time for different types of activities will help break up the day and keep the kids busy and entertained.
Some spouses swear by theme days such as “car washing day” or “change the sheets day” or “other laundry day” to keep things sane. It’s also a good idea to schedule some (secret) quiet time too. Depending on your kids’ ages, they can use this down time to quietly play, read, or just rest (without the TV on!).
The idea here is to create a daily routine that’s particularly useful during the summer months when our energy is shifted and we generally need a little more time “being” than “doing.” Figure out what works best for you and your family and then write it down so everyone’s on the same page.
The good news? With a solid summer plan in place, I promise you’ll be able to lean into the chaos and embrace military life in a fun and positive way.
There’s never a bad time to make a vision board. While I do my vision board in January, many of my clients find the time to get theirs done in the summer. And I often do a summer vision board with my kids because it’s a great opportunity for kids to think about their goals for the following school year. I’ll invite my girlfriend over and we’ll buy magazines and stickers and let the kids’ creative juices flow!
If you aren’t up for making a full vision board with the kids, you can still get some summer goals in writing. We take some time towards the end of June to jot down what we want to get done over the summer. This includes our “summer bucket list” of fun things we want to be sure to fit in before school starts back up. This looks like a kitchen bulletin board adorned with camp schedules, amusement park brochures, birthday party invites, and a trip to my mom’s beach house—all of which are pre-planned with the dates marked off on the calendar. Seeing these plans on the calendar gives me something to look forward to on those rainy board game days.
Even if you don’t end up doing everything on your vision board, it’s fun to look at the colorful brochures and ideas. I find that my kids don’t even choose expensive outings; they’re happy with a trip to Rita’s Italian Ice and playing tennis at the park. When we find pockets of free time (like a cancelled summer baseball game), we look at the board for ideas and end up taking a trip to the library or a museum. Without a plan, the kids stay inside playing video games in the basement for too long.
Planning as a family helps keep everyone active and motivated all summer long. Consider clearing your bulletin board or buying a white board to start your family’s summer wish list. Make sure to post it in a visible area that sparks motivation.
We can all benefit from decluttering, but military spouses who have an undercurrent of stress in their daily life can benefit even more than others. Getting organized at home allows you to focus on what matters. A clutter-free life makes PCSing simpler and allows you to work on your personal and professional goals and make forward movement towards them.
Many of us begin getting organized at home with spring cleaning but then feel as if we need to redo the entire process as summer comes around and the kids have once again cluttered the house with school work and art projects. On top of that, it’s PCS season. So whether or not you’re moving this year, pretend you are, and work on decluttering. It’s amazing what happens when you take a laundry basket and walk around your house getting rid of things that aren’t aligned with bettering your health, increasing your wealth, or achieving closer relationships.
Here’s how I tackle decluttering (before my kids’ school year ends and they’re underfoot):
I walk around the house and identify what I can get rid of
I create some sacred spaces in my home (a basket of teas I enjoy, placing a favorite book on a cleared night stand)
I clean out their backpacks
I get their art projects turned into lifelong keepsakes (using online services)
I organize their summer clothing so that we can focus on making laundry days simpler.
Doing laundry for a military family is hard. We have our own clothing, our husband’s work clothes, workout clothes, the kids’ clothes, sporting gear—it’s a lot! I find that what helps me the most with laundry is purging. I’m less inspired to put clothes away when our shelves are overstuffed and we can live for too long without washing clothes. Once I purge the kids’ closets (and my own!), I’m much more motivated. I also find that listening to a podcast while I’m folding laundry can be a fun way to learn something new while I’m getting tasks done. Figure out what works best for you and start implementing it regularly.
In a recent coaching session with a military spouse, we chatted about decluttering strategies before her upcoming PCS (permanent change of station). I suggested she start by choosing one area of her home to get organized and prepare first. Day one was designated for purging and day two was for organizing. We landed on the topic of “mystery cords,” and I couldn’t help but laugh and admit that I still have a drawer full of them. It was a proud moment when I heard her utter the words, “You know what, I’m just going to throw mine out!” She was clearly mentally prepared for her upcoming move. But more than that, there was something so freeing in her voice that screamed, “I’m telling the universe that I’m ready for a new chapter in my life.” Her excitement was contagious!
Even if you aren’t making any big changes this summer, as you declutter and get your home organized, pay attention to any stuck energy that surrounds you in your home or mental drains that you can let go of. Purge your house and mind and make the conscious decision to just enjoy your summer months.
If you’re dealing with too much clutter and want to learn a simple system for decluttering, sign up for my June webinar to learn all about my 21-day Decluttering Challenge. Even if you can’t make the live webinar, I’ll send you a recording of it!
I believe military spouses can be super successful if they just get rid of what doesn’t serve them and believe in themselves. Sometimes there is so much on our plate as a military spouse that we can’t imagine how to fit in success. We want better health, more wealth, and cleaner closets but we don’t have the time or energy to make even 1% changes, or so it seems. I am here to promise you that if you decide to be successful, pockets of time will start showing up, but it requires some faith!
The best predictor of future performance is past performance. So, by focusing on your past accomplishments, you really set the stage to attract more achievement toward you. Including this important aspect in your mission statement thus allows you to more easily make progress toward reaching both your seasonal and long-term goals regarding health, wealth, and relationships.
Plus, this progress will be made in a way that works best for your individual needs and aptitudes. Once you have completed this assignment and formed the basis of your mission statement, try reading your paragraph out loud.
You may need to tweak it a bit to make the language more positive and personal, but don’t give up. Remember that you can continue changing your mission statement over time so that it best fits your current, shifting needs.
Steps to creating a “go for it” statement!
Take out a piece of paper and list five personal accomplishments—things of which you are especially proud—in a single sentence each.
For each item listed above, describe the habits, skills, and abilities that allowed you to succeed. Try to keep each answer to a single sentence, if possible. This brevity will make it easier to turn these ideas into a mission statement in the end. Make sure not to word things negatively. I had a client today that said, “I wouldn’t try and be my son’s friend, I try and be a parent.” You don’t want anything that feels like a don’t so I might reword that for the client and write “Understanding role clarity is key” as positive statements are easier to apply to a mission.
Combine these last five sentences to create an entire paragraph. You may need to do some editing to ensure that the statement makes sense and is worded in a positive manner but you are nearly there! Cross out any repeated items and rewrite the revised paragraph—this will be your new mission statement, your ‘go for it’ permission in military life. I can’t wait to hear from some of you that want to work one on one with me. Don’t forget to sign up for my decluttering may webinar so you can finish up your spring cleaning season and really begin to soar.
Start the process of writing your go for it (another name for my mission statement work) by reflecting on your past and choosing five accomplishments of which you are especially proud. Then, consider the habits, actions, and behaviors that led to these particular successes. Ask yourself, “how would I teach these competencies to someone else?”
After you’ve written a sentence or two about teaching others, contemplate your answers. Then, write a few sentences about the insights you’ve realized from this process. Ask yourself, “what does my writing tell me about how I work best?”
Now you have the basic components of your own personal mission statement—this paragraph of “explanations” effectively demonstrates how you best operate! Just make sure to word everything positively so that the paragraph inspires you to keep moving forward.
I love helping military spouses mediate on the lifestyle they want and this includes what type of physical environment you want. What does a perfect 10 look like to you when you think of your home? Your home is an extension of who you are so imagine a neat kitchen, bedroom, office, and imagine how that feels and what energy it brings to you. A great tool to use when you are gaining clarity on how to motivate yourself to declutter your home is to your values (a list is available for you in my client area, help yourself) and by clearing your decks a bit, you energetically open yourself up to attract more so clean out those closets, fridges, desks, and then sign up for my may webinar and then you will feel ready to really go for it. Clients laugh when they come to me for job coaching and I send them off to clean their desks and computer files, but it’s a great first step. After you feel like military life is tidy, you can write your go for it statement with much more ease.
Go for it statements are also great ways to move forward and I wrote about how to create one in Military Spouse Magazine and I will give you a little snap shot right here but I really encourage you to call me and sign up for a coaching session to get yours into writing and let me help you tweak it to motivate you all year long. I am offering a “go for it” session for only $80.00 to military spouses that are reading this blog. You simply email me “I am ready” and you will get a session with me where we walk you through how to create this powerful statement and its totally individualized. Former clients say their “go for it” statement is what has motivated them the most during our initial coaching sessions and I want to share the experience with you too. I will even give you a few tips here on how to get stated before we even meet so that our session is powerful.
I am so excited that my baby sister just became a mother! She named her so after my father that passed away, so when she shared his name I chocked up. I am so proud of her and excited for her to become a mom. I am also happy for all my clients that balance motherhood with military life and work like; you all do so much and deserve a pat on the back. Just being a Military Spouse is something that you should really be proud of because your love and support are what makes our country so strong and just surrender to how amazing you are and motherhood is just another amazing thing that many of you spouses do, so if you are a mom, I am sending extra hugs out to my mommy clients and hope that you enjoy the special day.
I am excited to be a part of Military Spouse Magazine’s Military Spouse of The Year Awards. I read the spouses stories and I am just so inspired by the strength that so many military spouses exhibit. Being part of the event is an honor and I am excited to share step by step coaching on how to create “go for it” statements. This is a theme that I will be addressing this month, along with a Webinar on decluttering because as we define who we are, we need to get rid of things that no longer serve us and this often includes physical things. I will talk more about this in my upcoming Webinar at the end of may and hope that many of you will be able to attend.
Add photo from event here (I am away may 8th, post may 11th which is military spouse appreciation day.
Go for it statements rock and make military spouse life fun! They are simply brief declarations that describe how we do things when we are “at our best.” Organizations use these documents to clarify their overall purpose; therefore, different organizational cultures have radically different mission statements.
I like asking my coaching clients to come up with their own mission statements to help them really think about their ideal lives. While my regular readers may note that I’ve discussed this topic previously, I’d like to take this opportunity to delve further into the process of creating one’s mission statement—after all, the task can be a bit daunting for some of us!