How to Take Care of Yourself and Put Yourself First

How to Help Yourself

I have recently been thinking of the Audrey Hepburn quote, “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”

I had never felt the truth of this statement as much as I have now before I became a mom. I didn’t fully understand selfless, unconditional love, or the fierce devotion I’d have to wanting to help and protect my daughter as much as possible.

At the same time, I also never understood how vital it is to take care of myself, or that the ONLY way to take care of others is by taking care of myself first.

Becoming a mother has taught me what a great helper I am, and it’s also forced me to learn to help myself by taking simple, doable, and consistent actions that make a big difference in my quality of life.

By learning to help myself, and take great care of myself, I am better able to show up in the world as the wife, woman, and mother that I most want to be.

I am currently facing some new stressors in my life. My grandmother, who I am extremely close with had to have emergency surgery and has been in the hospital for almost two weeks. My 90 year old grandfather has been alone in their home, and needs help going back and forth to visit my grandma. I’ve been spending most days at the hospital with them, while also trying to juggle motherhood and all of my other responsibilities, and I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t stressful.

The only thing that’s keeping me sane through this ordeal is my commitment to self care; my dedication to helping myself first.

This is what helping myself first looks like these days:

  • Practicing yoga every morning
  • Spending a little time outdoors each day
  • Eating a healthy breakfast
  • Bringing my own lunch to the hospital
  • Using essential oils to ground me throughout the day whenever I need it
  • Taking a daily break to go for a walk
  • Listening to good music and inspiring podcasts on my drives to and from the hospital
  • Putting away my phone and being fully present with my husband and daughter each night
  • Crying to my husband or a friend whenever I’m feeling particularly burdened
  • Relaxing and reading before bed every night
  • Asking for help when I need it

These activities may seem trivial, and maybe doing one of them by itself wouldn’t have as big of an impact. But the culmination of taking these small moments to take care of myself daily adds up to my feeling grounded, safe, and supported, even during uncertain times.

It is only from this place of being cared for, that I am able to help others. By filling myself up first, I can show up as the patient and loving mother that I most want to be. I can help and support my grandparents as they age. I can be a devoted wife, and a good friend. I can hold more space for my coaching clients and be of greater service to them. I can write meaningful blog posts. I can show up to the world ready to give and ready to help…. But ONLY if I am helping myself first.

This is true for all of us. I would love for you to take some time this week to think about the ways in which you are helping others, and also the ways in which you are helping yourself. Notice if this give and take feels balanced to you. We are here in this world to help one another, but we simply cannot do that to the best of our ability if we are not first helping ourselves.

What can you do to help yourself today?

Please share in the comments below, or reply to this email to speak to me personally!

Take care and have a beautiful week.

Be well,
Ambar

 

P.S. If you are someone who struggles with making self care a priority, I would love to help! I am getting ready to start working with new coaching clients and am offering a free Self Care Strategy Session to anyone who is interested in seeing how life coaching works. I know that this time of year can get a little stressful, and I would love to support you in putting yourself first so that you can have an easeful and peaceful holiday season. Simply send an email to ambar@mamabirdwellnest.com if you would like to claim your free session and we will get it scheduled right away!

 

How to Ask for Help (And Actually Get It)

How to ask for Help and actually Get It

I’ve noticed a pattern with many of the women I talk to. A lot of us have a hard time asking for help, and sometimes, we desperately need it. As busy, driven women, we wear many hats: wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, neighbor, co-worker, boss, etc. We like to think that we can do it all by ourselves. This puts a lot of pressure on us. It can be difficult for one person to juggle all of these hats, and to try to balance them all without any help can be plain exhausting.

I’ve come to accept the fact that just because I CAN do it all, does not mean that I HAVE to. Life is so much easier when we feel supported. The people around us love us and want to help us. Many times, all we need to do is ask.

Here is my 3 step process on how to ask for help (and actually get it!):

1) Figure out where your struggles are

Many times, we can feel completely overwhelmed without pinpointing exactly where the source of overwhelm is coming from. It can be helpful to take a look at your daily routine from morning to night, and figure out where the trouble spots are.

Let’s say you are a stay at home mom with a colicky baby. Your mornings start out pretty well, you have a morning routine down, make sure to get out of the house for a little each day, and everything runs smoothly until lunch time. You start to notice that by the afternoon, you are starting to feel exhausted, and during the evening time, “the witching hours” where your baby is extremely fussy, you start to feel extremely stressed out and on edge. During this time, you are trying to get dinner on the table, soothe your crying baby, and spend time with your partner who is just getting home from work.

By looking at your routine, you’ve noticed that the evening hours are the time where you need help. Now that you know this, you can move on to the next step…

2) Find at least 3 possible solutions to your challenge

It can be helpful to come up with more than one solution to our challenges; this way we know that our circumstances are not just happening to us; they are a choice that we are actively making. It can be empowering to think about our challenges in this way.

So, in the above scenario, you might decide that you need some time to yourself each evening, so you will ask your husband to watch your child for an hour each night while you unwind by taking a hot shower, or going for a walk. Or, you might decide that what you really need is to order a meal delivery service so that you can stop stressing out about cooking dinner during this challenging time of day. Or, you may consider joining a moms group so that you can get support from other moms whose babies have colic. After coming up with these 3 options, you may find that one in particular stands out as the first obvious choice, or you may even decide to use all of them. These 3 options can now become your plan of action, or your solution to the challenges you are facing.

Now that you have some options for the type of help you desire, it’s time to move on to the last step…

3) Ask for help and be specific

The secret to asking for help and getting it, is to be specific about what your needs are.

Let’s go back to the same situation we’ve been working with. If your husband comes home from work, and you’re feeling like you’ve had it after a long day, you might be tempted to scream at him and say something like “I can’t do this anymore! I need help!” And while it’s great that you are asking for help, the way that you are asking is not particularly conducive to getting the help you so desperately need, because by simply saying “I need help”, you are leaving it up for interpretation. Your husband’s idea of what type of help you truly need might be completely different from yours. Or, he may not know what he can do to help you without being given direction. This is why it’s so important to get clear on what you need and how you can get it (which you’ve already done if you’ve followed the steps above).

Now that you are prepared, you can have a conversation with your husband and say something like, “The evening hours have been really tough for me. Do you think you could help me by taking the baby for an hour every night so that I can have some time to regroup?” This request for help is simple and clear, and chances are, he will be happy to help you.

And that’s my 3 step process for asking for, and receiving help. I know that it can be difficult to ask for help, but life is so much better when we feel supported. It can be empowering to stand up for yourself, recognize what your challenges are, and take steps to improve your situation.

I hope that you find these steps helpful, and that you are able to get help in whatever way you see fit. What do you need help with? Let me know in the comments below! I’ve learned that sometimes just saying it out loud starts to send a message out to the world that we are ready to receive the help we need. 🙂

Wishing you an easeful week full of help + support.

Be well,
Ambar

 

P.S. If you are a mom looking for some extra support, I have a few spots open for my private coaching packages. Whether you are struggling with relationship challenges, feeling emotional due to lack of sleep, or having trouble adjusting to motherhood or any other major life change, life coaching can help you. Learn more about my coaching packages by clicking HERE or sending an email to ambar@mamabirdwellnest.com. It would be my honor to help you. 🙂

Our Children’s Stories are Not Our Stories

Our Children's Stories are not our stories
Photo by Bilimama Photography

Hello my friend! If you follow me on social media, (and if you don’t, I would love to connect on my Facebook page, Instagram, and be friends on FB!), you may have seen that my daughter fell down and fractured her collar bone earlier this week. It was a rough day that included 4 hours at Urgent Care with a hurting 2 year old, and lots of tears on both of our parts.

I myself, have never broken a bone, and I didn’t have my first surgery or stitches until I was well into my 20s. Navigating this world of broken bones with a toddler seemed unfair to me. I felt so badly for her and wanted to take away her pain, but of course I couldn’t. Having never experiencing this myself, I realized that I had been hoping that her experience would have been more similar to mine; that she wouldn’t have to handle a broken bone until much later in life, if at all. That’s when I had my epiphany:

Her story is not my story.

My daughter’s story, is not my story. She is her own unique individual, and she is here to have her own unique life experience. She is a human being with her own share of strengths and challenges to navigate in this lifetime.

We all want the best for our children. It can be so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we know what’s best for them, or wanting them to experience life in a similar way in which we did, or to protect them from the challenges that we ourselves faced.

But we must remember, that our children are on their own individual paths. Their stories are not our stories.

It’s human nature to want to protect our babies, to hold them close, to keep them safe. And yet, that is not our job.

Our job as mothers, is to provide our children with unconditional love and unwavering support, through the ups and downs of their own individual journeys.

Their journeys are part of our journeys, yes. But, they are not OUR journey. They are their own unique selves meant to experience the world in their own unique way, with their own unique set of circumstances.

We can advise them, guide them, and love them. But we cannot choose their story. We cannot dictate their journey.

We must stick to our own journey. And know that by honoring our own individual journeys, and living our lives as we see fit, in the best ways we can, we are giving our children permission to do the same.

So, next time that you find yourself wishing that you could take away your child’s pain, or that things could be different, stop for a moment, and give yourself the grace to know that they are on their own individual journey. Trust that whatever they are experiencing is a necessary part of their story, and believe in them enough to know that they have the inner strength to get through it. And then, give them lots of love and extra hugs. 🙂

Is this something that you struggle with? What’s the hardest part about trusting that your little ones need to have their own stories? Let me know in the comments below.

Take good care this week.

Be well,
Ambar

5 Must-Have Essential Oils for New Moms & Babies

5 must-have essential oils for new moms and babies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essential oils can be a lifesaver for new moms. Have you been curious about the best uses of essential oils for new moms and babies? Then this post is for you. 🙂

I first started using essential oils when my daughter, June, was about 2 months old. Since then, they have become a part of our daily lives. I talk to a lot of new moms who are dealing with challenges that can be helped by implementing an essential oils protocol, so I wanted to share my most recommended essential oils for new moms and babies.

You can get an in depth overview of what essential oils are in the first post of my essential oils series, 5 Must-Have Essential Oils for Families. In short, essential oils are a quick and effective way to get the therapeutic, emotional, and physical benefits of plants. Much like you might drink a cup of tea to get the medicinal properties of certain herbs, you can use essential oils in a similar way. However, essential oils are much more potent and concentrated. For example, one drop of peppermint essential oil is equivalent to 28 cups of peppermint tea. This makes essential oils extremely effective.

The following are the top 5 oils that I used with June as a new mom, and would recommend to other moms:

1) Orange – If there is one thing that new moms need, it’s energy! Orange essential oil is very uplifting and helpful for a quick energy boost. I like to rub a couple of drops between my palms and take a few deep breaths whenever I feel my energy starting to slump. It also works great in the diffuser! Orange has a very clean and refreshing scent and is super helpful in uplifting mood and energy levels. Its uplifting and energizing properties make it one of the best essential oils for new moms.

2) Lavender – As much as new moms need energy, we also need adequate rest… and so do our babies! Lavender essential oil is the perfect oil to start using with babies in order to promote sleep and relaxation. This is the oil that initially got me started with essential oils… the first time I tried it with June, she took her first nap in her crib and slept for hours! This was a significant change for us, because up until that point, she would only nap while I was holding her. Lavender is very calming and relaxing, and can help promote peaceful sleep. To this day, we diffuse lavender essential oil in June’s room every night as part of her bedtime routine. On nights where she is extra fussy, I dilute one drop of lavender with coconut oil and rub on the bottom of her feet. I also add a few drops to my pillow, and apply to over my heart when I am feeling stressed or anxious.

3) Digestive Blend – Most of the popular essential oils companies make a digestive blend. This is a must-have to have on hand with little ones. Many young babies tend to have digestive troubles such as reflux or colic, since their digestive tracts may take awhile to build up. The digestive blend can help soothe an upset stomach and reduce uncomfortable gas and bloating. Whenever I notice that June’s stomach seems to be bothering her, I mix 1-2 drops of the digestive blend essential oils and apply directly to her tummy. It also works great for adults! I have been known to use this blend after overindulging and it provides instant relief.

4) Melaleuca – Melaleuca is better known as tea tree oil and is a great oil with many different uses. Melaleuca helps promote healthy immune function. I like to dilute it with coconut oil and apply up and down June’s spine whenever she is going to be playing with other children to give her immune system an extra boost. It’s also great to diffuse throughout the house to freshen and purify the air. Another great use for melaleuca is to add a few drops to a spray bottle with water and use to wipe up baby spit-up or as a natural cleaner for the surfaces in baby’s room. I also like to put a few drops on my nails after showering to keep them looking healthy. After having my baby, my regular manicures stopped happening as frequently as they used to, so having this trick on hand helped keep my nails healthy and felt like a simple and doable DIY spa treatment.

5) Balance Grounding Blend – I often jokingly refer to Balance as the “oil of motherhood”. I mean seriously, what mom doesn’t need more balance, right?! Balance is the perfect oil for moms. It helps promote tranquility, balance emotions, and bring harmony to the mind and body. These qualities are essential for new moms. After having our babies, our physical bodies are trying to recalibrate and recover from pregnancy and childbirth, while our emotions are trying to process all of the big feelings that new motherhood brings. The grounding blend of Balance can help support our bodies in promoting calmness and tranquility during this transitional time. I like to start my mornings by applying a few drops of Balance essential oil to the bottom of my feet. It is part of my morning routine and helps me start my day feeling great! I also like to  diffuse in my daughter’s playroom in order to create a soothing and calming environment, and apply it to my wrists and back of neck to help ease anxious feelings.

I hope that these suggestions help you start to see the many benefits of essential oils for new moms and babies.

Do you use essential oils for yourself or your little ones? Which are your favorites?

If you are not yet using essential oils, but are wanting to start, I invite you to learn more and shop directly from my doTerra website here: www.mydoterra.com/mamabirdwellnest.

If you have any questions or want individual help choosing which oils might be right for you or your family, please fill out the contact form below or send an email to mamabirdwellnest@gmail.com. I would be happy to support you in using these oils that have been so beneficial for me and my baby!

Have a happy and healthy week!

Be well,
Ambar

I’m a Wild Dreamer. Are You?

Wild Dreamer

Wild Dreamer

I have a confession to make.

I’m a wild dreamer.

Let me explain…

Earlier this year, I had a wild dream.

I dreamed of a life of fun and freedom.

I dreamed of more time with my daughter.

I dreamed of working for myself and being my own boss.

I decided that the way to pursue these wild dreams, was to leave the stability of my full time job.

This may not sound all that wild to you.

But for me, it was.

You see, my paycheck gave me validation.

My daily routine gave me structure.

My career gave me safety.

But, I’m a wild dreamer.

So I left the familiar in search of the unknown.

And it hasn’t been as easy as I thought it would be. In fact, at times it’s been really freaking hard.

When I left my job, I lost the identity that I associated myself with and defined myself by.

Having a full time job was comfortable. It gave me something to do everyday. It filled my life with meaning. It made me feel like I was contributing to society, and to my household.

Without this outside source of validation, I’ve had to find a new sense of self worth; one that comes from within. And that has been tricky.

There is nothing in this life that I love more than being a mother. But being home with my toddler 24/7 can be intense.

I’ve been bringing my daughter to daycare 2 days a week. I tell myself that she needs and thrives on the socialization… but if I’m honest with myself, the truth is that I also need that break.

Not having my own steady stream of income coming in has also been an adjustment. I’ve always been financially independent, and now I feel like I need to ask my husband for money. This too, has been challenging.

Without a job to define myself by, I’ve had to find my new identity. This part may be the most difficult of all.

I am home with my daughter most of the time, but I’m hesitant to say I’m a stay at home mom.

I work on my blog religiously, but I don’t always think of myself as a blogger.

I coach clients through my private and group coaching programs, but I don’t always think of myself as a life coach.

I write a weekly newsletter, but I don’t always call myself a writer.

Basically, I’ve been playing small.

I’ve been scared to label myself.

I’ve been feeling lost as I figure out this new life stage.

But, I’m a wild dreamer.

And I know that I’m meant to live life on my own terms.

And that means setting an example for my daughter…

By fully living out my life’s purpose.

I know with every ounce of my being that I am here to help and encourage other mothers to find their purpose, and live out their own wild dreams…

So that they can set an example for their own sons and daughters.

We need to show our children that their own wild dreams are theirs for the taking…

And this starts by having the courage to go after our own dreams, hopes, and desires.

The first step to actualizing our dreams is to declare them out loud.

So today, I’m declaring that I’m a wild dreamer, yes, but also…

I am a blogger, I am a life coach. I am a writer.

I am a wild dreamer.

I dream of a life that is more play than work.

I dream of family adventures.

I dream of a marriage based on love, devotion, and romance.

I dream of being the type of mother that my daughter wants to be around.

I dream of time and location freedom.

I dream of playing outside everyday.

I dream of fully inhabiting and enjoying my one wild and precious life.

I dream of stepping out into the world as the blogger, life coach, writer, wife, mother, and woman that I am here to be.

And I’m ready now.

Want to join me?

We are all wild dreamers.

We are the dream weavers, and it’s time to make our dreams a reality.

Your wild dreams may not look like mine.

In fact, they probably don’t.

But I know you have them.

What wild dreams do you dream of?

What do you think about, dream about, yearn for?

What have you been wishing for, perhaps not even admitting to yourself?

What desires are whispering to you, trying to be heard?

Remember, the first step to creating your dreams, is to declare them out loud.

What are your wild dreams?

Please share in the comments below! Let’s support one another in rising up and making our dreams a reality.

Dream big and have a beautiful week.

Be well,
Ambar

 

Stop Waiting for Perfect

Stop Waiting for PerfectEarlier this week, I had an experience that reminded me how important it is to make the most of the present moment, and stop putting off our desires by waiting for the perfect time.

It started on a trip to Trader Joe’s. They always have the best flowers there, and I love having fresh flowers in my home. However, I usually only buy flowers when our house has recently been straightened up and cleaned. We are fortunate enough to have someone that comes to clean for us once a month, and then the rest of the time we keep up with the daily maintenance. As a result of mom life with a toddler, after the first week or two of our house being cleaned, clutter starts to pile up, and crumbs start to creep in over the house. I usually don’t buy flowers during these weeks, because I tell myself I should wait until the house is clean and tidy.

But, this week, I realized that this is a ridiculous way to think. By only buying flowers for the one week a month that my house is perfectly clean, I am depriving myself of having flowers for the remaining 3 weeks! Pretty silly right?

So, I bought the flowers. I came home and arranged them in my favorite pitcher. I cleared all of the clutter off of our dining room table and moved it someplace else. As I set down the flowers, I noticed that my daughter’s little fingerprints were all over the table and chairs, but then she started to call from me from the next room, so I didn’t get a chance to wipe them off. And so, the flowers stayed on the perfectly imperfect table.

And you know what? They are perfectly fine there. I’ve been admiring these flowers every time I walk past them all week. I am sitting at the table enjoying them as I write this blog post. They have served as a little reminder of beauty in my imperfect world.

If I had waited to buy the flowers when my house was clean and perfect, I would just be settling for having a dirty house with no flowers now.

This experience got me thinking, and I started wondering what other things in my life I’ve been putting off, waiting to do them when things are “perfect”. This is something we all do. Does any of this sound familiar to you?:

“I’ll go on more date nights with my husband when our baby is older.”

“I’ll use the good china when I have a party.”

“I’ll wear my new dress when I have somewhere special to go.”

“I’ll quit my job when I have more money saved up.”

“I’ll start my own business when my kids are in school.”

“I’ll go out dancing when I have a partner.”

“I’ll cut my hair short when I lose 10 lbs.”

“I’ll eat healthier when I’m less stressed out.”

“I’ll buy a nicer couch when my children are older.”

“I’ll run my first 5k when I have more time.”

We all do this. And the thing is, by waiting for the perfect moment to do these things that we want to do,  we miss out on enjoying our lives to the fullest RIGHT NOW.

Our lives are happening right now, in this very moment. Your life is what’s happening right now, as you are reading this. When we wait for the perfect opportunity to do the things our hearts desire, we are missing out on getting the most out of our precious lives right now. We are putting off enjoying our lives to the fullest. We are missing out on opportunities to care for ourselves and feel as good as we possibly can. We are saying that we do not deserve to be loving our lives as we are living them.

This has to stop.

There is no perfect moment to go after your dreams and desires. The perfect moment is now.

Stop waiting. Buy the flowers now.

What have you been putting off in your life, waiting for the perfect moment? I would love to hear in the comments below.

Have a beautiful week.

Be well,
Ambar

 

 

 

 

Why Alone Time is Necessary For Moms

Why Moms Need Alone Time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you become a mom, alone time can be hard to come by… and ironically, as moms, we need our alone time more than ever.

As mothers, being busy comes with the territory. We are constantly chasing after our little humans, entertaining them, playing with them, caring for them, and keeping them alive. With so much of our time being spent caring for our babies, it’s no wonder that we’re exhausted at the end of the day.

Our children are adorable and precious. But they are also exuberant, loud, energetic, and needy. They are very dependent on us, and because of that, much of our time is spent giving.

When all of our time is spent giving, we get out of balance, and start to feel stressed and overwhelmed. Life is meant to be a natural give and take; when that isn’t happening, we are out of balance.

That’s where alone time comes in. Alone time is the gift we give ourselves. It helps even out the score so that we can get back into balance. Here are 3 reasons why alone time is so necessary for mothers, especially for mothers of young children:

Silence is Golden

I have heard it said that mothers of young children need to spend time in silence because so much of our time is consumed by noise and chaos. Could this be any more true? When most of our time is spent with our little ones, it’s very easy to become overstimulated. Having some peace and quiet helps us to relax and rejuvenate.

Self Care is Needed

Alone time qualifies as self care time. Self care doesn’t have to mean a trip to the spa. Spending a half hour reading a book or going for a walk are also ways to practice self care. We’ve all heard the expression ‘you can’t fill from an empty cup”. Taking some self care time helps balance the scales. If we are not taking good care of ourselves, the quality of care that we give to our children suffers. When we are rested and feeling good, we are better able to enjoy spending quality time with our little ones, and have a better attitude while caring for them. Taking some much needed time to ourselves allows us to recalibrate.

Tune in to Your Desires

Having space and time to ourselves helps us quiet our minds and become reacquainted with ourselves. When we are still, we are better able to connect with our inner wisdom. Have you ever noticed that you get your best ideas in the shower? That’s because it’s a quiet time when you are completely focused on yourself. Taking some alone time can have a similar effect.

As you can see, having alone time is absolutely crucial and necessary to our well being as mothers. Even a few moments spread out throughout the day can make a major difference.

Here are some ideas for incorporating more alone time into your day:

  1. Wake up before your children. Use this morning time to do some sun salutations, journal, or simply sip a cup of coffee in peace.
  2. Take mental health breaks throughout the day. Find a few moments when your children are entertained, step into another room, and do some deep breathing.
  3. Make showering and bathing a spa experience. Use some special bath salts or shower gel and use this time to intentionally unwind.
  4. Make meals a sacred time. Shut down electronics, use your good china, sit down and enjoy every meal.
  5. Enforce nap time or quiet time. If your children are still young enough to nap, take advantage of this quiet time to enjoy some self care time to yourself.
  6. Use your support system. Incorporate some time into your week where you can lean on your support system to help with your children so that you can get some time to yourself. Have your partner take your kids in the morning so that you can rest, ask your babysitter to stay for an extra hour, or drop the kids off for a playdate with friends. Take inventory of your resources and use them regularly so that you can get a break.
  7. Create an evening ritual. Take some time to wind down before bed by diffusing some essential oils, reading an inspiring book, or doing an evening meditation. Use this time to unwind.
  8. Make sleep a non-negotiable. It can be tempting to stay up late watching Netflix, but that’s not always the best use of your alone time. Try your best to shut down electronics a half an hour before bed and go to sleep at a decent time so that you can feel rested enough to wake up before your kids and follow these tips all over again every day! 🙂

I hope that you’ve started to see the value of getting some time to yourself each and every day. What’s the biggest challenge you face with incorporating alone time into your daily routine? Let me know in the comments below! I would love to help you work through this.

Have a beautiful week and enjoy some quality time with yourself!

Be well,
Ambar

P.S. If you would like some personalized help with incorporating some more alone time into your life, I invite you to check out my Private Coaching + Support packages for moms! It would be my honor to guide you in getting some more time to yourself and creating your ideal mom life!

 

Why Connecting to your Pre-Baby Self is the Key to Being a Fulfilled Mom

Connecting to your Pre-Mom Self

Let me ask you a question: how do you feel in your everyday life?

Right now, much of my life is consumed by being a stay at home mom. If I’m honest with myself, most days I feel really happy and fulfilled, but I also feel tired, overwhelmed, and frumpy at times. But I think I’m figuring out the key to changing that…

Last night, I was on the way to a family party. My husband was driving and our daughter was asleep in the backseat. We started listening to a playlist of songs from 2008 when we first started dating. We were having so much fun singing and reminiscing, and by the time we got to the party, I was feeling fun, carefree, and sexy… I almost forgot that I had a sleeping toddler in the backseat.

I don’t always feel fun, carefree, and sexy in my everyday life. I tend to get caught up in all of the responsibilities of motherhood and its constant demands, and forget about connecting to those parts of myself. But listening to this music brought me back to a time when those feelings were the norm. Music has the power to transform us and lets us travel back to specific eras in our lives.

Why connecting to your pre-mom self is the key to being a more fulfilled mom

This experience made me remember the importance of staying connected to ALL parts of myself. It helped me realize my desire to stay connected to the young and carefree part of myself; the part of me that liked to go out dancing instead of going to sleep by 10pm, the part of me that stayed up all night talking to friends on the phone, the part of me that was more concerned with having fun in the moment than in worrying about the future.

This pre-baby part of me is still with me underneath all of my daily routines and responsibilities. And she wants to be acknowledged too.

What parts of your pre-mom life do you miss? How can you acknowledge the old parts of you that want to come out and play?

If you were an avid runner, you can go for a jog around the block.

If you loved going clubbing with your girlfriends, you can plan a girls’ night out.

If you liked fashion, you can buy yourself a new outfit.

If you enjoyed romantic dinners, you can get a babysitter and plan a special evening with your husband.

If you loved traveling, you can plan a day trip and go on an adventure.

As mothers of young children, it can be really easy to get caught up in the daily routine and forget to make an effort to nurture these parts of ourselves. But it is so important to remember that although mothering may be the major focus of our lives in this season, it is not all that we are.

connect to your pre-baby self

Connecting with our pre-mom selves reminds us that we are WHOLE people with individual needs, wants, and desires. It is easy to forget that amidst all of the responsibilities of motherhood. But when we start to check in with ourselves and acknowledge ALL parts of our unique selves, life becomes a lot more fun.

Is this something that you struggle with? What parts of your pre-mom self do you miss most? What small steps can you take to bring them back into your life? I would love to hear in the comments below!

Wishing you a week of fun and fulfillment!

Be well,
Ambar

 

8 Ways to Love Your Beach Body (Regardless of What it Looks Like)

How to Love your Beach Body

Hi friends! I have a little bit of a personal and somewhat vulnerable topic this week. If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you may know that I live in a beach town and I ADORE the beach; it is my happy place. Now that summer is getting into swing, my little beach town is livening up and my family and I have a lot of beach days on the agenda. One of the perks of living in a beach town is that we often get visitors dropping by during the summertime to get together with us and go to the beach.

Recently, I noticed that whenever friends would reach out wanting to get together at the beach, I wasn’t as excited about it as I usually I am. I started to get curious about this… clearly I love going to the beach, so what was the problem? I realized that my hesitation was because I’ve been feeling a little self-conscious about being out and about in my bathing suit.

I felt really disturbed to discover that I felt this way. You see, when I gave birth to my daughter two years ago, I started to really love my body and feel more empowered in it than I ever had before. I was in amazement that my body had been able to create my beautiful, healthy baby girl and continue to provide nourishment for her. I recognized my body’s true purpose and all of the feelings of self consciousness that I had carried with me for much of my adult life simply fell away. It was great!

At this time, I also vowed to myself that now that I was raising a daughter, I would never let her hear me speaking poorly about my body, or mistreating it in anyway, because I know that she will learn how to treat her own body by witnessing how I treat mine.

So, I was surprised to see that some of these old feelings have recently resurfaced. And I quickly decided to do something about it.

I am willing to bet that I am not the only woman who feels uncomfortable in their bathing suit, so I want to share the steps that I’m taking to learn to love my beach body, in hopes that it is helpful to you too!

How to Love your Beach Body

Prep Work

There are many things that we can do on a daily basis to start feeling more comfortable in our bodies. If you have a beach day planned, you can start using the following tips to build up your body love.

1. Take Good Care of Yourself

I find that when I am feeling the most self conscious about my body, it’s because I haven’t been taking very good care of it. Treat your body well by drinking enough water, making healthy food choices, and making time to move your body in ways that feel good to you, each and everyday.

2. Thank your Body

Think about all of the things your body does for you and begin to thank it for it. For example: “Thank you arms for being strong enough to hold my daughter. Thank you legs for allowing me to enjoy walks to the beach everyday. Thank you hands for letting me cook, write, type, and hold hands with my loved ones. Thank you body for sustaining a healthy pregnancy and feeding my baby. Thank you for letting me taste delicious foods. Thank you for letting me smell my husband’s cologne. Thank you for keeping me alive. I am grateful and I love you.” You can do this in a journal, in your head, or for an extra powerful exercise, try looking at yourself in the mirror and saying these words out loud.

3. Sleep Naked

There is something about sleeping naked that makes us feel more sensual and connected to our bodies and more at home in our skin. If you are not ready to sleep naked, invest in a silky or soft nightgown that feels luxurious on your skin. I promise this will be a gamechanger!

4. Treat Yourself

Treat yourself by getting a manicure and pedicure, a bikini wax, or a massage! These small treats feel great and pampering ourselves goes a long way to making us feel well cared for and relaxed.

5. Buy a Bathing Suit + Cover-up that you Love

There are tons of cute bathing suits for every level of modesty. I always liked wearing two piece bathing suits, but always felt like I had to be walking around sucking my stomach in! Once I made the switch to a one piece I haven’t looked back! I have so many nice cover-ups and cute strapless bathing suits in bright colors that make me feel happy and cover up the areas I’m most self conscious about. I suggest that you do the same! If you are feeling frumpy or like you need to hide in your bathing suit, that is not going to help you love your body! So buy a suit and cover-up that makes you feel good!

Bonus: Accessorize!  A fun hat and big sunglasses can show off your style and add a boost of confidence!

How to Love your Beach Body Now

The Day Of

Now that you have done your prep work it’s time to head to the beach! The following tips will help you enjoy your beach day without being consumed by what you look like.

6. Indulge in your Senses

When you get to the beach, take some time to really take it all in. Being surrounded by nature has been proven to decrease stress so make sure that you take time to appreciate your surroundings. Take some deep breaths and feel the warmth of the sunshine on your skin. Listen to the waves crashing and the sounds of children playing. Taste the saltwater on your lips. Feel the sand underneath your toes and look at the beauty of the ocean. Admire it all and soak it in with all of your senses.

7. Smile

A smile makes everything better. By having a joyful attitude, laughing, and smiling, you ensure that people will remember you as the happy woman enjoying herself instead of as the unhappy weirdo hiding underneath the beach umbrella! And let’s get honest… we are each our own worst critic, and no one is paying that much attention to you anyway!

8. Focus on Having Fun

Focus on having fun instead of on what you look like. When we are having good experiences, we get lost in the moment and don’t have time to feel self conscious! So make sure to have fun! Go swimming, play with your kids, make sand castles and toss Frisbees! A beach day is supposed to be fun, not stressful, so take the time to enjoy it and make some happy memories!

How to Love your Beach Body regardless of How it LooksI hope that you find these tips useful and helpful! I have started using them myself and can already feel my self consciousness starting to slip away.

There are so many women struggling with their body image and letting their self consciousness stop them from enjoying themselves as much as they could be. This is is such an important topic to talk openly about so that we can join together and know that we are not alone, and that we are committed to ending our body struggles.

Which of these tips will you be trying for your next beach day? I would love to know in the comments below!

Wishing you a week of body love.

Be well,
Ambar

P.S. Do you want more help learning to love your beach body? Sign up below to get the free Body Love Daily Planner!

Legacy of a Mother

legacy of a mother
My mother and grandmother.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In celebration of Mother’s Day, I have been thinking a lot about the legacy that a mother leaves behind. My own mother passed away nearly 16 years ago, but the lessons that I learned from her are still very much alive. I am blessed to still have my maternal grandmother to learn from, and am always aware of the many lessons she has taught me, and continues to teach me. This will be my second year celebrating Mother’s Day as a mother myself, and I have been reflecting on what type of legacy I want to leave behind for my own daughter.

I come from a lineage of very strong and devoted women. My mother and grandmother both were hardworking women who believed in sacrificing themselves in service to their families. They poured their whole heart, body, and souls into motherhood.

My grandmother was always a very strong matriarch. She has not had an easy life, but she has always stayed strong, and maintained an attitude of “I can do it myself”, never asking for help, even now that she is almost 90 years old. She is a kind, loving, and affectionate woman who has demonstrated love and devotion to me her entire life. Her strength has carried her through life and allowed her to be the glue that holds our family together.

Me and my mother.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My mother was also a very strong and loving person. She was the kindest person I have ever known, and she made sure that my sister and I grew up knowing just how much we were loved. She went out of her way to care for us and was always the epitome of grace, elegance, and compassion. She was truly the most beautiful person, both inside and out. Unfortunately, my mother did not have the best health. She had juvenile diabetes from the age of 5, and this disease continued to wreak havoc on her body as she got older. As I watched my mother get more and more sick, I was always amazed by the positive outlook that she was able to maintain throughout. She was always happy and smiling, and continued to give of herself until the very end.

legacy of a mother
Me and my daughter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have learned how to mother from watching my mother and grandmother and I have immense gratitude for their beautiful examples of motherhood. I have adopted many of their traits that I am hoping to pass down to my own daughter. I hope that my daughter grows up watching me be a strong, loving mom. I want her to know how much I adore her and that my devotion to her runs deep.

I have also been thinking about the shadow side of motherhood. In motherhood, as in life, everything is not 100% good all the time. I am very much aware that we are always teaching our children, not only by our strengths, but by our weaknesses. Think about it… as much as we grow up learning to follow our family’s examples in some ways, in other ways we very much learn what NOT to do. These are also valuable lessons that need to be learned.

The women in my family have always sacrificed their own needs for the sake of their families. And while this can be viewed as an act of devotion, I have learned that there is a better way.

We do not have to give up on ourselves for the sake of our families.

There is a difference between sacrificing our own well being, and being of service.

I want to be of service to my daughter, and to my family. What I mean by this, is that I want to be able to help and provide for her to the best of my ability. I want to show her an example of a strong, confident woman who knows how to take care of herself, because this is what I want her to grow up learning about her own self.

I know that the only way to be of service, is by serving myself first.

And that is why I make self care a priority. Every day, I do my best to make sure that I am feeling happy and well, and that I am well taken care of in mind, body, and spirit. Only from this place of fullness, am I able to show up as the mother and woman that I desire to be in this world, not just for myself, but for my daughter, for the legacy that I want to leave behind.

When we are well cared for, everyone wins. We are best able to nurture our children by learning to nurture ourselves first. We can only teach our children to have positive relationships by having healthy relationships ourselves. We teach emotional health by doing whatever we need to do to cope with our own feelings and emotions. We teach our children to feel good by doing the things that make us feel good.

Our children are always watching. They learn from our actions more than they do from our words.

By putting our family’s needs above our own, our children are learning to put other’s needs above their own.

If instead, they grow up watching us filling ourselves up first, and serving them from a place of fullness and fulfillment, they learn to do the same.

This is the legacy I hope to leave my daughter with: Love yourself first. Take care of yourself. Make yourself happy first. This is the truest act of service. It may sound selfish, but it is truly the most selfless gift you can give to your loved ones.

What have you learned from the women in your own life? What lessons have been instilled in you by growing up witnessing their strengths and challenges? What legacy do you hope to leave behind?

Please share in the comments below. Let’s honor our family’s legacies and start to get intentional about the legacies we are creating with our own lives.

I honor you, your mother, your mother’s mother, and all of the mothers who came before them. We are all learning from the generation before us, and are each doing our very best in this crazy world of motherhood. I raise my glass to you, your strengths, and your imperfections. They are all learning opportunities, are all welcome, and are all needed.

Happy Mother’s Day to all.

Be well,
Ambar

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