Iris

Welcome

Welcome to The Executive Mom blog. You will find wonderful blogs about how to be a more efficient, empowered, loving, and happy mom while bringing peace, stabilty and consistency into your home. I will lend real life failures and successes, and I will share my wisdom. I hope that you will feel encouraged and excited in your mommy journey. Please head over to my blog tab, stay awhile and read. 🙂

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Take Back the Victim Card

We all know the saying, “Misery loves company,” and we all get down from time to time. Things don’t always happen in life like we want, and people can be outright mean. We can get the short end of the stick, miss the promotions, and get rejected.

When these situations happen, it’s easy to blame others, and feel that it’s not our fault. And sometimes it’s not, but like another saying says, “It takes two to tango,” and often we play a hand in the situation. It’s not not bad to blame from time to time, but when we start to blame others all the time, stop taking responsibility for our actions, and make ourselves out to be the victim, this is a serious problem.

This problem exists for several reasons. The first is that being a victim leaves you stuck. When we feel like a victim, we feel left behind, we feel left out, and we feel neglected. These feelings are not usually attributed to moving forward in life or to engaging with yourself and having a deeper connection within. Being stuck also allows the feelings to fester and deepen, which can put you on a hamster wheel of emotions…you get nowhere. Typically if you do get somewhere, you only go deeper into your feelings of being a victim.

Another problem is that you see your self-worth lower than it truly is. If you perceive that you are not worth much because you are a victim, you begin to act this way. People respond by not respecting you as much. You treat yourself less than you deserve, and you start to believe that you are not good enough. You don’t live up to your potential because you can no longer see that potential within yourself. This can be a rough and downward spiral.

Giving the blame to everyone else provides an escape from taking responsibility. Although you may not be able to control your circumstance, you can control how you handle it and react from it. Projecting all of the blame to others hurts you from seeing that maybe you are putting yourself in bad situations, or you are allowing others to treat you the wrong way because you have not set up boundaries. All situations are two-way streets, meaning that two people are involved, so stand up for yourself, speak up for yourself, and change your behavior patterns so that you can stop being the victim.

Begin to see yourself differently. See your worth. See that you have control over a situation, how you react, and who you spend your time with in your life. Whether you feel like a victim in your personal or professional life, set up boundaries and habits that can help you take back the victim card. Don’t hand it to anyone, but instead, take it back, rip it up, and throw it away!

Granted I am not a psychologist and realize that some situations are worse than others, but in general, I do believe that there are ways to allow ourselves to be less of a victim and more in control of our situations. I hope that you will find a way to get out of your victim seat, take back your card, and destroy it. I hope you will be empowered to be stronger than ever, and see your true, valuable, and unique worth.

Resonate with this blog? Read about how unique and special you are here and the importance of thinking positively about yourself here.

Passion!

Passion! What is the first thing to pop into your head when you see this word? Do you think of romance? Do you think of an amazing kiss? Does a “certain someone” come to mind?  Do you think of marriage? Do you think of a body spray? Regardless what you are thinking of at this moment, passion is something we all want!

According to dictionary.com, the word passion means “any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.” It’s interesting that we typically associate the word passion with a romantic situation. However, if you look at the definition again, it states ANY powerful or compelling emotion. The love or hate part is only given as an example.

I find it so interesting that people search for passion in life. They crave it, they want it, and people do a lot for passion. If you were to think of a person that is passionate, though, what comes to mind? I think of a woman who looks at her child in an adoring manner. I think an artist as he or she paints his or her masterpiece. I think of someone plummeting from the sky with just a parachute on their back. I think of a man deep into conversation about a topic he both is knowledgeable about and enjoys speaking about to others about at any time. I see smiles, I sense a strong heartbeat. All of these examples are done out of free will, not because they have to be in the situation.

I believe we waste time finding passion in life. Yes, you read correctly…waste. Passion is not something we find. True passion lies deep within us. It is something that we already possess. If we possess it, why would we need to find it? Maybe a better way to explain it would be to discover passion. I believe if we are to truly know ourselves, there is much discovering. There is much uncovering and digging to do in our life. However, passion can be found, and it is easier to find than we realize.

So, how do we find passion? Simple. What do you get excited about? What would you do with your day if no one noticed you? What would you do with your day if you weren’t paid anything? What makes you want to try harder? What word, when you hear it, does it make you want to stand up and change the world? What makes you feel at peace with the world? When you hear the word “fun,” what do you associate it with? What person or event or action or fill in the blank would make you cry if you never got to be involved with it ever again?

Whatever you are thinking about right now, these are your passions in life. This is what makes you tick. This is what excites you. This is what makes you want to get up in the morning. Now that you have your passion, how will you use it to make a difference in life?

Who do you say you are and the importance of creating a tribe might be some other great reads.

Speak Life

I’m a big believer that you are who you say you are. I believe that you are who you believe you are. I believe that you can become (positively or negatively) who others say you are. I believe that our words speak volumes. They say what we think in our hearts, they express what and how the world is perceived from within.

For centuries philosophers have spoken about the world, about love, about life, and about humans. Poets have spent much time trying to explain love, hate, friendship, enemies with rhyming words, similes, and alliterations. Social media now allows us to express how we see ourselves and our own world. We each individually can speak about our lives and others, the world, and our point of view about…everything!

That being said, words speak either life or death, good or bad, truth or lies, kindness or meanness. We each have the chance with our brain moving to our mouth to better someone or to make them worse. We have the power to make their day, and sometimes even their life better or worse.

We especially have this ability with our children. We can either speak words of life and encouragement or words of death and discouragement. This is a very important aspect in our home. My husband and I work to speak life in our children. We don’t give them fake praise (ex. Kid does a half summersault: “Wow. That was a good summersault.”); we only praise them when it’s due. We also don’t use flattery (ex. “You are the strongest boy in the world,” “You are the prettiest girl in the world”); we tell them the truth. But, we make sure that we use every opportunity possible to speak good into their lives. Here are several ways we do this.

Genuine praise

If there is something positive they do, something special, something noticeable, we tell them. We make sure we praise their strengths. We watch out for the exemplary things that they do in their life. We make sure we take notice and then praise them for those special things. Each child has strengths, each child will do something great, special, awesome, and these are things that should be noticed and praised.

We use virtues, not vises

Let’s be honest. Kids are kids. They do really un-smart things. They screw up. They annoy us parents. They mess up. It’s GOING to happen. It’s probably going to happen everyday. And much of it is simply because they are children being children, not because they are trying to be bad. When are children do mess up, we try to use the appropriate words and phrases. For instance, a sibling might say to another, “Give me back that toy!” Instead of responding that the child is being “mean,” I would tell my child that they are not being “kind.” This focuses on the positive word, what I want them to do, instead of labeling them as mean. If they spill milk, instead of saying, “Well, that was stupid of you,” I would respond with, “that was not wise. Please keep both hands on the cup next time.” I don’t want to be a parent who focuses on the negative; I want to steer them on how to be better.

Instruction for the future

This leads to the next part of using virtues. After using a virtue, my husband and I make sure that we don’t stop there for two reasons. 1) The child may not fully understand what kinds is or what wisdom means, and 2) We want them to react better in the future. Especially with young children (six years and younger), they don’t always understand the words that come out of our mouths. They are excellent at figuring out connotation, but often they don’t truly understand the meaning of a word. And sometimes, it take several tries for it to really sink in. That’s why I try to use teachable moments as much as possible. I want to make sure they understand what I mean, so they can react appropriately next time. I also want them to know what I expect so that they will rise to the person I am projecting: a person who is kind and wise. If they think I think they are mean or stupid, they will likely begin acting meaner and stupider because that’s what they believe they are in my eyes.

We live in a very screwed up world. There is more negative talk than positive talk. Marriages break up over emotional and verbal abuse. Children don’t go to college because they were told they were too stupid. Other kids go to jail because they were told they were terrible in every possible way and never felt loved. I only have one life and the kids that God gave me. I want to make sure that I speak the words they long and need to hear. I want to equip them to be the best little people and someday big people they can be. I want to see them become the person I know they were made to be and more simply because I believed in them and communicated that with words.

Like this blog? How to help siblings get along better and how to keep kids safe in a parking lot might be two other blogs for your enjoyment.

What To Trash From Your To-Do List

Anyone who knows me or has been following my blog for a while knows that I am organized and like to-do lists. Let me say it more plainly: I am crazy about to-do lists! However, there are good to-dos and bad to-dos. Just like there are positives and negatives, a to-do can be either positive or negative. I want to dedicate this blog to time-wasters, to unneeded items in our life, and to negative to-dos. I want to help you throw away the to-dos from your list which shouldn’t be on there to begin with. Can I get an Amen?

First, don’t check emails or text messages in the first thirty minutes of waking up in the morning. Do not send them, do not read them, do not even peek at them! I say this from experience!  It is a time killer, and a stress inducer. Give yourself time to wake up, get ready for the day, and start with peace. The same “fire” will be there whether at 6am or 6:30am.Thirty minutes will do nothing for the problem, but will do much for you personally.  Don’t you deserve at least thirty minutes to yourself?

Don’t leave home without food or a plan for food during the day. A normal to-do is to “get lunch.” Why not bring a lunch or a snack? This way, you can spend less time waiting in line and/or eat a healthy snack. For me personally, I am good at taking food and snacks for my children, but many times forget about myself. It may take you ten minutes to pack in the morning or the night before, but it saves the ten minutes waiting in line, the five minutes deciding where to eat, and the fifteen minutes going to and from the restaurant. Trash the unknown food plans. This is especially helpful if you work outside of your home.

Set limits for your activities. For instance, do not, I repeat NOT, respond to email or text message every time it appears. When I was a full-time Life Coach, I heard from so many people on the frustration and wasting of emails and text messages. If you do not look at emails every five minutes and trash this unneeded to-do, you will save so much time during your day, week, month, etc. I have found this to be even more helpful now that I stay at home with my children. They need my undivided attention, and I have more to do now than when I worked full-time. I need to keep focused, and so do you. Decide on specific times that you will respond to email and text messages. You may even want to send an automatic email response letting the sender know when you follow-up with email each day. Set specific times on Facebook, Instagram or other social media venues. Set a timer, a watch, or a phone alarm to alert you when your time is complete. Keep meetings to a specific timeline, and have a legitimate reason to leave if it lingers.

For full-time moms, it’s important to set limits for activities so to make room for naps, homework, prep time for meals, and time for other activities. Children love to drive your timeline, but if you already have time limits set up, then it’s easier to keep that timeline. Don’t leave the house without a timeline. And it’s helpful to communicate it with kids too.

Scheduling meetings back to back is another to-do you can trash. Give yourself some breathing room during the day. Allow your mind to wander, allow yourself to analyze what happened in the last meeting, and prepare yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally for your next meeting. Allow yourself to sit in traffic without it turning into a meltdown and complete disaster. Make it so you never have to apologize for being late to a meeting again!

For moms who stay at home, don’t make yourself run around like a crazy woman. Limit activities, and don’t plan them back to back. Don’t stress yourself driving all over your community. Give yourself breathing room, time for potty breaks, and time for teachable moments. You make and hold your own schedule. The choice and spacing is up to you.

I really hope even one of these ideas can allow you to trash something on your to-do list.  This topic is near and dear to my heart, so if you have other suggestions or feedback, please comment or email them to me.  Good luck, and I hope your trash finds itself full with unneeded to-dos by the end of the day!

Other blogs with similar ideas are: how to lessen cluster and three practical way to organize your life.

I’m Too Sexy for Myself

As moms, we can tend to leave ourselves on the back burner. We get everyone else dressed when our kids are little. We make sure our children are fed first. We shuttle them around, but don’t even spend time taking ourselves anywhere alone. We spend so much time on our kids and our husband too that many time we neglect own self.

If you were to ask yourself if you find yourself attractive or sexy right now, how would you answer yourself? Is this a normal thought for you? I know we all have our good days and our bad days, but how to you view yourself on a regular basis?

Are you a person who likes to dress your best? If you do dress your best, is it because you have good self-esteem or because you have a need to impress everyone? Is it because you feel good about yourself, or because you’re trying to convince even you? When you dress your best, do you believe in the inside what you see on the outside? If you don’t dress your best, is it because you feel like you only deserve to wear sloppy clothing or sweat pants? Does your outside appearance reflect how you feel about yourself on the inside?

Do you put effort into your physical appearance at all? This could mean dressing to make yourself attractive, exercising, eating well, getting enough sleep, and smiling. If you are lacking in any of these areas, I ask you to stop reading this blog for a few minutes, and ask yourself, “_____ (fill in your name  here), what is holding me back from putting effort and energy into myself?”

I do not believe that looks are everything, but I believe that what you do on the exterior reflects the inside. If you are skipping the make-up, it might mean that you do not find yourself beautiful enough. If you wear sweats to the grocery store every time you go, you may feel that you are not physically in shape. How you carry yourself is important, and people can also see the lack of self-esteem.

Ok, let’s state the obvious now…no woman feels like she is the most attractive woman in the world, and we all have days where we don’t feel very pretty at all. However, the second obvious statement is that you will never…repeat never…be anyone else, look like anyone else, have talents like anyone else, strengths, weaknesses, personality, humor, intellect…need I go on?…like anyone else!!  EVER!!

Instead of tearing yourself down, why not embrace the very essence of you? You were made this way, and you can’t change this. So, let’s turn the negative to a positive.  What can you do to see yourself as one-in-a million? How can you start to view yourself as sexy, beautiful, wonderful? What do you like about yourself? What do you enjoy doing with yourself when you are alone? What are your favorite physical features? What is your favorite part of your personality? Learn to enjoy who you are, learn to laugh with yourself, learn to encourage yourself, and learn to accept yourself the way the rest of those who truly care about you already do accept you. If you can learn to be your own best friend, life will be better, more fun, more laughter, more smiles, more peace.

You may not be the sexiest woman alive, but you can be beautiful both on the inside and outside. All you have to be is you. The very best you possible!

Here are some other blogs about having peace with yourself: You are a masterpiece and Ode to Me.

Redeem the time

“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” ~Abraham Lincoln

“Lost time is never found again.” ~Benjamin Franklin

“I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.” ~Golda Meir

“Time waits for no man.”

“Time is ticking away.”

“Time is money.”

We all have a certain amount of time here on earth, which is unknown, and we each get to decide how we want to spend that time. We do not get back a single moment either. 

We have all made mistakes and wasted time. Sometimes we can live in the past and live with regret over a bad decision. This can make us feel like we are in a rut. It can also keep up from living in the now, today, and present. We can feel stuck, and forget how to move on. We let the decision or situation rule over us, and take over our lives. Once we are able to move on and get out of the rut, forgive ourselves and others, we have lost more time.

I want you to redeem the time TODAY. Sure, we have all wished we did something differently. We wish we could go back and change our actions, the outcome, the reaction, the situation, or whatever, but in reality we cannot change anything. The only thing we can do is to redeem the time that we have now.

When you win a prize, it’s not yours until you redeem it. You must decide you want the prize, and claim it. The same is true with living in the present. It’s a prize you have won or a gift you possess, but you must redeem it and cash it in. You first must realize that you want it, and then you must take it into your possession.

So, instead of getting down or beating yourself up about something that happened in the past, redeem the time that you have available now. Do something differently, make a change in your life, and find a way to move forward. Forgive and forget, whether it’s someone else or yourself. Make a decision to move on with your life. Decide to close that chapter. Break the chains that are holding you back and in bondage. Create healthy boundaries. Take a chance that things really can be better. Stop allowing yourself to be the victim. Decide how you will live today, and the feelings that you will feel. Put yourself back in the driver’s seat of your life. You don’t have to waste anymore time; the decision lies within you!

I spent most of last year wasting time. I was angry at some things that happened and didn’t go as expected. I see the blessings in those unanswered prayers. I realize now that I wasted time, and I didn’t seize the day. I don’t want to live like that anymore, and I want to encourage you to seize the day as well. Only you can make the decision to make every moment matter!

Don’t waste anymore time, and redeem what time you have left in your life to make a difference! 

Like this post? Read Mundane Is So…Mundane!–how I automate regular chores.

One Small Way to Make Moving Easier

I have just moved to a neighboring state and I’m exhausted. Life has been whirling around me. I haven’t slept well in days, my back hurts, I’ve had a crick in my neck for a week, and I didn’t stop moving for the last 48 hours before the move was complete.

I’m the kind of person who doesn’t mind to clean. It does make me feel more at peace when my house is clean, and I would rather scrub a toilet than cook a meal. And I’m one of those rare people who loves to organize. I do it for free, and it makes me feel excited to organize anything. Whether it’s an excel sheet, a room, or planning for homeschool, I love to organize. Both cleaning and organizing play in to moving. Both are needed and are important. Moving cleans up the house, and organizing as one packs makes it easier, BUT I do not like to move! It is not fun. I don’t find it exciting in the least.

There were a lot of things I did well, and some things I did poorly, but here is one original thing I did that helped save the day. I created a first night bag. What is that, you ask? It’s all the items you and your family will need the first night in your home. It eliminates trying to find basic items scattered in boxes. It makes it easier to sleep, shower, and wipe you hands on hand towels. It includes the following:

  • Bedding for the entire family
  • Pillows for everyone
  • Blankets, comforters, and mattress pads for the entire family
  • A towel and wash cloth for each member
  • Hand towels for the bathrooms and kitchen

It can be difficult to remember, even if you mark all of your boxes, where your essential items are that you need right away. By separating these items, you have them the very first night in your new home.

And I didn’t pack them in a box. That would make it too difficult to find. I packed them in black garbage bags. That way I can identify where they are easily. I also double wrapped them so that they would not be exposed to dust or dirt. No sneezing please. No need to put them in the washing machine. When we move into our new home, I will locate these garbage bags, open them and place them on our beds. We may not have plates or silverware to eat off of, but we will have a place to lay our heads. And we will have a place to dry our hands. Truth be told, I have paper plates and utensils, but those are easy things to remember. I could go out to a store last minute and buy them if needed. They don’t cost much or take up much room. I just don’t want the stress of trying to get covers on our beds the first night, and neither should you.

I encourage you to do the same the next time you move. Make life and moving easier. Whether in a box, a garage bag, a duffle bag, or any other method, separate your first night items so that you and your family can sleep better the next time you move. You don’t have to be organized to do this simple step. You don’t even have to organize the rest of your move. You don’t even have to move all of your stuff if you have helpers or a company to pack you, but you can pack this one bag. You’ll be happy that you did.

Moving is stressful. You can help lessen it with your first night packed bag. Your family will thank you, and you will thank yourself! 🙂

Want to read more? How to plan for vacation and how to fold laundry in less time.

 

What’s Your Personal Elevator Speech

When I was in “Corporate America,” was trained to have a 30-second elevator speech. You know, the “what to say” when you meet another professional about what you do so you don’t talk over their head or get too wordy. And let me tell you, I can get wordy. The main point is to introduce yourself, state what you do, and then create excitement and a want for more information.

And it also helps you to not stammer because one of the jobs I held in outside sales was pretty techy. And my project manager job was a technology company that didn’t always make sense to others as well. But, I tried to keep my elevator speech in the back of my head with each new job. It was very helpful in the business word. I am thankful that I was mentored to come up with an elevator speech so early into my career.

When I had a business before kids as a Life Coach (yes, I’ve don’t a myriad of different jobs), my elevator speech went as follows: “My name is Iris Slay, owner of Growth for Today.  I enable professionally-minded women to sustain balance while maintaining a fulfilling career.  As a life coach, I help women find balance and boundaries while maintaining a full and busy life.  I do this by working with goals, organization, and using personality and strengths in all areas of a woman’s life, both business and personal.  Working together, we achieve growth for today.” Pretty cool, right?

But what about your personal elevator speech? The one that says what you do when you’re not working whether you stay at home full-time, work full-time, or have a hybrid of both worlds. Have you spent time thinking about your personal elevator speech?  What do you want to tell the world about yourself?  How do you want to explain your expertise in life, your passion for life, your life skill, how you can help others, what you want your life to stand for, or what you want to leave behind?  I challenge you today to make your life/personal elevator speech…and make it better than any professional elevator speech.  After all, careers come and go, but your life, your legacy, can live on many years after you are gone, and you cannot change the fact that you are you (you can only make it better).

One of my elevator speeches comes out like this. When someone says how well-behaved my children are, I say, “Thank you. This is my full-time career to take care of them so it is nice to know that it’s working.” This leads on into conversation and it often gives me time to talk about this blog or my passions as a mom. I have several elevator speeches that I keep in my back pocket, and I use each of them depending on my audience. I have one for when I am in the business world, at a business function with my husband, and one just for myself.

The point is that an elevator speech helps you know more about who you are and it helps you to communicate it with others. So, what is yours? What do you have to say about yourself? What’s your 30-second personal elevator speech?

Other blogs to read: don’t doubt yourself and your strengths as a mom.

Summer tracing fun

If you have read some of my other blogs, you know that I love to teach my children. I love seeing their “aha” moments. I love watching them getting smarter, and being a part of their journey. I love workbooks, coloring books, toys, and anything that gets them involved in learning.

That why I encourage you to try out this fun tracing sheet this summer from education.com. Dive into learning with this snorkeling themed word tracer_snorkeling tracer! Click on the link and print at home. It’s that easy!

This is a great worksheet for children ages four to six (of course each child is unique and it may fit kids younger or older than this age range). Let your children trace the words, and if they are ready, you can have them sound out the words too.

Whether you are excited about summer or are just trying to survive, you can find more resources to help your little one develop fine motor skills and letter recognition at Education.com.

Writing is a fun part of our education in our home at this season of life, so I hope you enjoy it too. I hope you enjoy having a front-row seat with your child’s education and learning the importance of penmanship.

Here’s to a big splash with your summer break!

Here’s more posts about education: why I love homeschooling and another educational worksheet.

 

A River Runs Through It

Do you remember the movie called “A River Runs Through It” that came out in the early 1990s? Without going into too much detail, the movie was about fly-fishing. The main characters spent much time fishing, much patience standing in the water, and much triumph when catching the fish.

I want to focus on the water that they fished in during the movie. That water was important to their life, and you might say, it was part of their life. Water is also important to our lives, as our bodies are made mostly out of water. If we take that water, figuratively speaking, and fill it, clog it, pollute, or dry it up, it no longer is or does what it was created to do.

The same is true about your life. If you fill, clog, pollute, or dry up your life, you will not be yourself or who you were meant to be.

If you fill it with other things like rocks or boulders, the water will not be able to flow. This could be something like anger, bitterness, or resentment. Strong and negative emotions allow us to stay where we are and not become the person we want. It holds us back in life, and can cause other things like job promotions, healthy marriages, deep friendships, etc. to die.

Clogging the water so that it no longer flows at all makes it become stagnant. In our life we can do this by having bad addictions. Whether alcohol or even narcissism, we can ruin relationships and ourself. Make sure that you do not let anything control your life…not a person or a thing. Clogging the water to our life can be catastrophic and can cause years of hurt and damage.

Pollution can come in many forms. It can come from the people we associate with in life, whether work or home. It can come from the movies and TV shows we watch. It can physically come from what we eat. No matter the form, just as pollution changes the color and composition, so will polluting your life. You will talk, act, or look differently than you would at your core.

And lastly, your river of life can dry up. This is the worst of them all because this stops you. This makes your life meaningless, lessens your potential, and stops you from achieving your hopes and dreams in life. This comes with continuing any or multiple of the above long-term. Once the water dries up in our life, it doesn’t come back.

What are the ways to keep this from happening? There are many. Here are several ideas to help:

  • Keep relationships strong.  This includes work and personal, romantic and platonic…but only healthy relationship.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Create down time/alone time into your schedule each week.
  • Create a list of achievements or a bucket list for your life.
  • Pray.
  • Laugh. Cry. Be happy, sad, angry, etc. Show emotion and allow yourself to deal with circumstances in life.
  • Forgive others.
  • Enjoy life and yourself. After all, you only get one you. So, become comfortable in your own skin, and become best friends with yourself.

My idea for this blog came from Joyce Meyer who writes devotionals.  She had a daily devotional talking about a similar, yet different idea.

Here are some other topics that might interest you: My Strengths as a Mommy and How would you describe yourself?