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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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?

Is Your Vocation a Sensation?

Have you ever heard the term, “Are you working hard or hardly working?” Even though it may be a joke, sometimes it can be true. Statistics show that 50% of people are not happy at their current job (some reports say more). According to careerbuilder.com, 4 out of 5 people do not have their dream job.

We moms are no different. We don’t always feel like we have our dream job (and maybe we never feel like this). We are not always happy at our current job, and we are not able to fire or lay off our workers either because they are our children! Whether you are a mom who stays with her children by choice or by necessity, this is your career. And I know what it’s like to hate my job as a mom. And I know what it’s like to just get by. I was just there. 

I went through a rough season of depression in the past year. I used to be a fun mom and loved my job. I used to do fun things with my kids, enjoy teachable moments, and laugh with them a lot. But, life didn’t go the way I had expected, and some really bad things had happened. As a result, I began to hate life and not put the effort into my kids. I lost my love of being a mom who GETS to stay at home. I lost sight of my dream job.

Does this describe you? Do you ever lose sight of getting to be at home with your kids and the blessing it is? Do you forget about how you dreamed of staying at home with your kiddos? Do you wish some (or most) days you could get a “real job?”

If you remember in the movie, Jerry Maguire, there are little snippets of an unnamed older man. Something he said has been stuck in my head for years. He says that he claps his hands, gets out of bed, and is ready for a new day of life (paraphrase). I always thought that was weird and desirable because I don’t know many people who think like that.

Ok, so maybe you’re not loving your job as a mom in the home, so how can you make your job more enjoyable?  Do you create ways to make your vocation enjoyable, or do you just make it through the day?

One major way to make your vocation a sensation is to use your gifts and talents. If you are good at organizing, find more ways to help your kids, husband, or friends get organized, or actually take the time to get more organized yourself. If you are good at solving problems, help your kids solve their problems or help your husband with the problems he is facing. If you are good at building rapport, enjoy play dates or dinner dates with friends. If you are good at teaching, try your hand with preschool or even homeschool. If you love crafts, get your hands dirty and make cool memories on paper. Let your talents and strengths shine through in the day-to-day.

A second way to enjoy your day is to smile. Simple…yes. Smiling gives endorphins and is contagious. If you smile at others, they will smile back. And, after seeing several smiles in a day, you will physically and emotionally feel better. Sometimes that is all a child needs is a smile. Sometimes you can make the cashier at the grocery store have a better day with a smile. A parent/teacher conference can progress better with a smile. Even at a mediocre job, life will feel better, and you will have a better attitude.

Lastly, work-life balance. Being a mom is a constant job. It’s not a 9-to-5 job. There are no holiday-paid vacations. There are no weekends or evenings off. Heck, you even have to take your kids on your vacations! But, you can establish balance whether during quiet time in the afternoons or nap time, time after bedtime, or getting away from your home on an evening or weekend for several hours at a time. I personally get away at least once a month on a Saturday. Check out my blog about getting alone time here.

Let your job as a mom be a sensation. Use your gifts and talents, let your smile shine, and get some time to yourself. Be the best you can be everyday, and make every moment count!

 

Fight or Flight?

We all get stressed, and we all get fearful. Stress, worry, and fear bring the same two reactions within us, to fight or flight. Both reactions are important and normal. Both reactions are instinctual. Both reactions are normal for all animals, and were designed to keep up alive. I know. You’ve heard this all before in school. For a moment, let’s discuss both reactions.

Fighting is when we think we can take on the person or situation, so we ride out the waves. We feel that we are stronger, we have more control, or with humans, that we have higher intellect. We think we can win because we have the advantage. We are confident of the outcome, or feel that there is no other outcome. Flight, on the other hand, is done when we think our opponent is too big, too strong, too smart, or able to outwit us. This is when we run away. This is when we hide. We get away from the situation as quickly as possible, instead of facing it head-on, as with fighting. Typically, we respond with both reactions in different situations, meaning most people don’t fight or flight 100% of the time.

Flight or fight is not something that we should be seeing constantly happening in our lives. If we find that we are consistently trying to flight or fight, we are too stressed or fearful. Something is not right. Maybe something or someone needs to be removes from our lives.

Over time, these two reactions can ruin our bodies both physically and emotionally. Being in a constant state of fight or flight does something negative to our bodies, and wears us out. This is when anxiety attacks happen and other kinds of breakdowns.

I have been in situations like this. It started because there was a real threat and I had to react. But, the longer I stayed in a threatening situation, the easier I reacted to situations. Over time I began to think that even small problems needed to be handled with flight or fight. And then, I was in a constant season of panic, stress, and fear.

I had to take a step back and admit that I was out of control. I had to see life for how it truly was, not how I perceived it. I had to let things go, let go of control, and let some things fall to pieces. I had to mend relationships. I had to prioritize what was important in life. And I had to rest. Resting can relieve the flight or fight situations in life.

Do you feel that you are fighting or flighting too much? What kind of situations are you currently in that may be causing this constant kind of reaction? Are you fighting when you should be flighting because you feel that you have to stand up for yourself or you are tired of being defeated? Are you flighting when you should be fighting because you are so worn out, or feel that fighting is not worth your time? If you need to remove yourself from a situation, even for a short time, take a break and then come back. Luckily, we do not have predators chasing after us, so often we actually can take a break. Make sure that you fight for what you believe in, and don’t cower to others.

Fight and flight both have their place in our lives, and both are important in times of crisis. We were made to use them in the correct setting. Make sure that you use them appropriately, and only when they are needed. Don’t allow them to be a crutch or add to your already stressful life. Know when to take breaks, and when to run away or fight. And lastly, make sure that there is an actual threat and you’re not just fighting thin air or running away from a shadow.

You might like these other blogs: how to be efficient with your time and three practical ways to organize your life.

Why I Choose To Homeschool

I thought this post would be appropriate as my children and I are wrapping up our school year. This is my third year to homeschool, and I feel like I’m in a comfortable place with it. I love homeschooling so far, and I can’t imagine any other scenario. But that is now. Let me start with then.

Before I had kids I wasn’t even interested in staying home with kids. I really wanted a career. I told myself and others that I wasn’t wired to stay at home with them. And never in my wildest of dreams did I plan to homeschool. That was my last resort. That was not even on my back-up list. Then, I married a homeschool kid, and I saw things differently. Homeschool kids were not as dorky as I grew up remembering. My husband is brilliant and had a great education, in some ways better than mine in public school because he had more personal attention.

Having kids helped too. I couldn’t imagine leaving them for a career outside the home. I can’t even imagine having my kids gone all day at school. And I never expected to feel this way. Not me, not Miss Independent. But as time went on, I decided that homeschooling was something I could try out. Try out. I didn’t expect to like it, but God works in mysterious ways.

This blog is in no way intended to persuade you or to tell you that you are doing things wrong as a mom. We all have to make the decisions that are best for our children, and that looks differently for everyone. What I do want to accomplish with this blog is to 1) share my heart, 2) give you a positive perspective of homeschool, especially if you have or are currently considering it for your children.

Homeschooling for me is so much more than school. My single favorite thing about homeschooling is the time I get to spend with my kids. Life is busy and our schedule is busy. Sometimes I feel like they spend more time together than with me. Sometimes I feel like we don’t get to spend enough time together in life because activities, cleaning the house, and dinner prep take up our core hours. But, when we are homeschooling, I have their attention and they have mine. It’s glorious.

Another favorite about homeschooling is getting to see the “got it!” moments. I am a natural teacher, and I love to teach. I do it for free, and it fills me with such joy. But, to any natural teacher, teaching without someone understanding what you are teaching seems like a waste of breath and time. As my children’s teacher, I get a front row seat with watching their knowledge grow, seeing their understanding deepen, and knowing that I had a direct impact with that learning. And recently, my youngest told me that I was his favorite teacher! ❤ WOW! That was a priceless moment I hope I never forget. That is a blessing.

I have many other aspects that I love about homeschooling, but one more I want to share is that it saves time. If you have followed my blog for a while, you know that I love efficiency. I love to get things done so I can have fun. I love to achieve. And with homeschooling, it takes so much less time. We can still have play dates, fun times playing outside, the zoo, etc. We can choose our schedule. We have more time for fun and for what we like to do with our time. That certainly appeals to me.

No matter how you choose to educate your children, I hope you have chosen it because you believe it’s the best. And every child and every situation is different. And what you start out doing may not be how you end their educational journey. I know I have chosen wisely and I’m confident that this is what is best for my home and children for this season in life.

And if you are on the fence about homeschooling, I encourage you to give it a try. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do!

To your children’s educational success,

The Executive Mom

Speaking positivity into your children and getting alone time might be some other blogs of interest. Check them out!

You Are a Masterpiece!

Have you ever been to a museum of art where you find yourself attracted to a certain piece of art or section? I am crazy about Impressionism. I can look at Monet for hours. I start by looking at it from across the room, and then inch up as I see new things come to life. Then, I stare it very closely and see the details…most of which up close, look like nothing! Then, I stand back again and see it from a new perspective.

Women, we should start seeing ourselves as a work of art. View yourself from across the room (big picture) and up close (details), and enjoy yourself. Begin to see yourself as a work of art…a very valuable work of art.

If you were to think of yourself as the artist creating YOU, what are the best features of yourself for your painting? Is it that you have beautiful blue eyes…this might be true, but think deeper. Is it because you can make almost anyone at ease in a conversation?  Is it your sense of humor? Is it your reasoning and analyzing that allows you to see options that many others cannot see? Is it your passion for life, your compassionate heart, your ability to organize events? Whatever your best features are, take a minute and praise them. See how wonderfully and beautifully you were made. See the uniqueness of your qualities, and see the benefits that they are to the world.

Now, as an artist, what would you highlight about yourself? Maybe you would put dark red lipstick on your lips…again, let’s try something deeper. Would it be your ability to make light in a difficult situation? Maybe it is your loyalty to be at a friend’s side the moment he/she needs you. Maybe you are excellent at giving speeches and being in the center of attention. Maybe you are good at cooking and gardening…things many busy women do not take the time to perfect. Maybe you are the strength in your family to hold things together. Whatever you decide to highlight, make sure you take time to reflect on it.

Now that your painting, sculpture, etc, is complete, how are others viewing your painting? What stands out to them? Maybe your smile brightens someone’s day. Possibly you are great at solving problems, and that is appreciated. Maybe just being a wife or mother has made the difference in someone’s life. Your boss may see you as someone who they can always rely on. To someone, you may have it all put together, or have the life that another only dreams of having. Whatever it is, take compliments, thank the person, and reflect on how others view you. You may be surprised at your worth!

At this point, I hope you are feeling good about yourself. I hope you are remembering the characteristics, qualities, and unique points about yourself. I hope you are realizing that you truly are a masterpiece….you are truly one of a kind. I ask you now to make a list of these qualities and keep them where you can see them. That way, on a bad day, you can pull out your masterpiece list, and see that life is not so bad. It’s good to walk a mile in your own shoes. 

What’s your family legacy?, how to make your house less cluttered, and getting alone time are all great reads. Check them out!

Failure: Friend or Foe?

Last May I was exercising after getting back from a fun vacation. In reality, I was too tired to exercise, but didn’t want to miss a day. I consistently exercise four times a week, and it’s part of my life. But, while exercising, I failed! I mis-stepped, my left foot coming down on my foot, and I fell…right onto my right ankle. That’s right. My right ankle caught my fall, and it rolled. It was gruesome, and it hurt like crazy! I both sprained (high ankle sprain) and broke the tip of my fibula bone. I felt like a failure because I couldn’t exercise, and I couldn’t walk. I could barely take care of my kids, even on crutches.

This was a rough time for me. And although it was a failure, it was one that I can learn from. It was also a season that brought me gratitude to my husband and how much he did to help out with meals, cleaning, and taking care of the kids. There was a week or two where he was doing it all. It was a time to appreciate that fact that I do have two great working legs. It was also a time where we went on a fabulous vacation by car (my husband drove the entire trip).

Have you ever been in a situation where you thought you failed miserably? Maybe it was in a relationship…maybe in a work situation…maybe with a friend…maybe with your sister? Whatever the situation, many times we think that we have blown it.We think that we have made a huge mistake. We think life will never be the same. We think our career will suffer because of our failure. We feel like we have injured a loved one.

Let’s face it, we have very little control in life, and many things that happen are out of our control. For instance, on my wedding day, it snowed so much that the roads became slick, and many people didn’t show up from out-of-town. Now, I could consider this a failure, or I could consider this life and something I had very little control over; I enjoyed the day for what it was: marrying the love of my life. For situations like these, we have to learn to just see it what it is…life. And, many times life happens.

In other instances, though, there are mistakes that we actually commit. We are grumpy and do not treat our children/spouse/clients/customers the way we normally do…or we blow the account altogether. We don’t trust someone we are in a romantic relationship with enough and it ends. We do something that is taken as miscommunication and causes a rift with a family member. Whatever the situation is, we cause it. In these situations, do we consider the failure to be a friend or foe?

If we consider our mistakes to be foes, we usually contribute to the situation and make it worse. We usually let it control who we become, and we let the situation define our next situation. We begin to live out of fear. We begin to be less willing to take risks. We learn to settle. Does this sound familiar?

If we decide to let our mistakes become our friend, we learn from them. We see the life lessons and growth that comes from them. We learn more about ourselves and learn to have the freedom to take more risks. We learn our boundaries so that we do not go out of them as often. We don’t have to settle anymore because we learn how to become more successful.

I have often said, Fail, and fail big time! But after failing, pick yourself up, move on, and learn from it. You see, in my original situation, I am seeing great success and learning opportunities. I do not exercise when I’m too tired and I don’t push myself beyond what I know I am capable of doing. I am kinder and more helpful to those I see who are in a wheelchair or need help. I teach this to my children too. I see that fun can come out of stressful and trying seasons. It’s not all bad, and I have decided to make hurting my ankle last May a friend in my life.

I hope you can learn to reconcile your failures, and see them as friends. Friends bring out the best, help us grow, and make us better.

Looking for other blogs to read? Why not read about trusting yourself more, your strengths as a mom, and making time for friends.