This is how to work hard and still be a great Mom!

It is possible to be a successful working mom and to still be a good mom. I have been the stay-at-home mom, but I am currently the mom who works full-time. Let me tell you, both are hard work and it is true: a mother’s work is never done. We are always on call.

Here is how I have been able to get things done and still be present for my family when I am home.

Planning is key!

I have always been the person who must write everything down. It helps me to process and focus. If I know what I have coming up with work events, appointments, and meetings then I can compare and plan. I make sure I am not losing quality time with my kids. This is huge! When I am working, I am all in. When I am home, that is my focus! Business hours are established, and if I need to figure in a meeting or event, then I make sure to make the time up at home. When I am with my family, I am 100% focused on them. No phones, tablets, computers, or any other distractions. I work hard so that when I am not working I can live my life!

Establish “me” time.

I need time to refocus, re-energize, and find my center. This can be accomplished in small pockets of time, and it’s usually short and sweet…reading for 20 minutes before I go to bed, listening to a podcast on my way to work, meditating during my lunch break. Other things I do for me are: waking up earlier to enjoy my coffee on the porch before my kids get up. Whatever you can make work for you—do it. It will help you become happier and less stressed when you are at home, and you will perform better when you are working!

It is possible to be a successful working mom and to still be a good mom. Here’s how to find the balance.

 

Have fun!

When at work, smile, joke, and take that coffee break. Enjoy the moments of connecting with people you encounter throughout your day. You can still accomplish all you need to do and have a good time while doing it. Plus, you never know who needs a smile! When you are at home with your family, then dance in the kitchen, have a tickle session with your kids, and cuddle up and watch your favorite cartoons. I am convinced that the power of laughter and smiling can change the world. Don’t take everything so seriously and make light wherever you are.

Utilizing time is vital, and it doesn’t just fall under planning.

The thing is, us mamas have so much to do even when we aren’t at work. Games, appointments, chores, house and yard work… Take these times and make it a family event. Need to get your workout in? Get everyone on their bike and do your cardio. Make cooking a family occasion; have the kids help you wash the veggies while you prep something else. Turn chores such as yard work into bonding time. They will get a lot of reward out of the process, and you are teaching them qualities that will stay with them for a lifetime! I have found that some of our most favorite times have been created in these moments. My kids appreciate that I trust them to help me, and we always have such a good time while spending quality time together.

The thing is, there is no perfect way to be a working mom or a stay-at-home mom. You must find the best formula that works for you and your family. By using a few or all of the steps above you might find that it is possible for you to balance working and family life in a way that works for you.

Shine bright and share love!

Ashley

Original written and seen on

Thegritandgraceproject.com; edited to reflect our current path of life. – Ashley Vancil

Winter weather and Skin care

Let’s talk skin care shall we? Who knew that at 30… something =) I would be dealing with more acne then I did my freshman year of high school? Because, hormones. Aggghhhh. Then add in some new wrinkles and winter coming so now acne prone, dry skin is a thing. Y’all being a woman isn’t for the faint of heart. Here I am though and I am learning skin care is so important. Wish I had learned this lesson a little earlier but it is what it is.

My skin care routine has changed a lot to say the least. My morning and night routine are very important to me and help me combat this mess and bitter cold weather we are having in Misery, I mean Missouri. I had a friend introduce me to Beauty Counter when I was mention all my new found problems and so far I am loving it. Mind you I have oily/ combination skin with dark spots and large pores. (Thanks Mom.) But here is what has been working for me.

 

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I use the CounterControl system that is for acne prone oily skin. It truly is heavenly. My go to items are all pictured above. Girlfriend, let me tell you want baby smooth skin at 34? This may be for you and my girl Lindsey can hook you up with beauty counter so let me know if you need her deets.

Morning Routine:

I start with the face wash which isn’t pictured here. (My bad it was in my shower and I forgot to grab it.) Then I use the toner and follow up with the moisturizer and spritz in a few sprays of the Rose Spray by Stella and Grace! I clean homes so that’s my general weekly morning routine. NO makeup on the average day because what is the point when I am going to probably sweat it off.

 

This keeps my skin clean and my pores from getting clogged. My breakouts and pesky pimples have decreased 85% since I have started this routine. Say What? Yes, it is working that well for me! Nights I do a little more and I take my time. It is my chance to unwind and wash away the day. It helps me to really calm my mind to relax and head to bed too. Don’t ask me how, it is just magical that way; and it works. lol

 

Night Routine: 

I start with the face wash. Then I use the toner follow up with the all over acne moisturizer and top with the moisturizer. After that I use my microneedle roller. I apply the Vitamin C serum when I am done micro needling my entire face and neck. Once I have patted that on my face I use my Jade Roller for around 5 minutes, then I spritz on a few sprays of the Rose Water Spray! My face feels sooooo darn amazing once I am finished.

A few more things that I do to help is drink LOTS of water. I can’t stress this enough. There are so many amazing benefits. Once a week I derma plane my face as well. Keeps it smooth and when I do wear makeup it helps keep it even. I add in a charcoal mask 2 times a week and eye mask every few weeks to help with brightness under my eyes.

 

I have made it a habit to read more on skin care, preventions and products. Keep yourself familiar with what you are using and the benefits; regardless of the products you choose! My biggest tip to anyone at ANY age would be to start now and use sunblock. Your skin will thank you!

Stay Luminous Babes,

Ashley

 

Keeping balance during the holidays!

Please tell me I am not the only one who struggles with this? Why is it that when Halloween is over we seem to go, “From the window to the wall….” for all the sweets and unhealthy food? I blame cold weather because it is simply the worse for me. I want all the cozy comfy clothes and comfort food. Please? And Thank you! If you aren’t like me than scroll on and I will just make this my own journal entry because I am definitely so freaking guilty of this every year…

 

So here is the thing; this year has been a lot about balance for me and here we are in the thick of all the holiday shenanigans and I am trying to apply balance here as well. This is what I am doing. Maybe something will resonate with you and you will be able to add it to your routine as well.

  • I allow myself treat and not “cheats”! I don’t know what it is about the mindset and changing those words, but it is magical. I don’t go crazy and I still try to reign it in, but I enjoy things as well. I want my eating to be a lifestyle and that means getting to also enjoy the things I love.
  • I have my treat but then pass on all the leftovers. I don’t allow myself to over indulge. This only ever results in me feeling terrible and being mad at myself for treating my body so badly.
  •  Drink LOTS of water! My body, skin and digestive system love me for this and I can’t stress enough how much better this makes me feel.
  •  I stay active even if I am staying in and out of the cold. Want to know some amazing workouts you can do at home, get awesome results and in a short amount of time let your girl know. There is no excuse. If you can move your body; then you are blessed and you need to move your body.
  •  Eat some extra goodies one day then I balance it with doing a little more work or adding in some extra healthy veggies the next day. Make sure to give your body what it needs and it will treat you well.

The holidays are about traditions, treats and wonderful time enjoying the things you love with those you love. Just remember what also makes you feel good. Keep those things in mind and find your own balance through the season and you will be thanking yourself come the New Year!

 

Love & Light Dolls,

Ashley

 

To the Momma of young kids..

My boys are 8, 6 and 4 now and yes they are a little older so we are thankfully out of the diaper stage and having to pack the entire house when we do something, but we have entered a whole new complicated stage of life.

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Being a Single Momma is hard. You are doing all the things and running on no sleep all while having no one to bitch to about all the crazy. Not having anyone there to support you, help you make decisions or tell you that it is all going to be okay. You just have to hope that you are doing alright and pray for all the Grace on days when you know you fall short.

Here I am in this new phase of life where my kids are developing into their own little personalities and have BIG feelings about everything. While I love this stage and how they are finding their own it can be a tad overwhelming and embarrassing when we are out in public and it is 3 again me . I struggle with wanting to take them to do things and then just staying in because it can be so exhausting and draining at times.

 

Momma, Yes you! You are not alone!! It doesn’t matter if you are a single mom, working mom or stay at home mom. We all understand how hard it is and here is why I think you should push through and go take your kids to do the things even when it is hard!

 

It is so rewarding even when it is hard. You are teaching them how to act and react to things. They watch EVERYTHING you do. They pick up it all. How we treat other people, how we teach them to behave and respect others. How to smile and be happy through it all. Even when things don’t go as planned. You are making memories with them that will guide their childhood. Quality time and love are what are children crave. It may not always seem that way because they have no idea how to tell you what they need at this young age, but it’s in our makeup. We are made to need connection and community. We thrive on it and we grow from it.

 

Teaching our children how to express that and show that is only going to help us more as parents. Our kids will want to share and talk with us more. They come to you more when they feel safe, loved and respected. All things we teach them as we do more with them. Again, they are watching how we interact with others and learn from us.

 

If we don’t make it an effort to put our words into actions how will they ever truly learn how to act. The whole, “Do as I say not as I do!”, saying is bogus. You are teaching your children. If we can’t brave the crazy of real life situations with our kids how can we ever expect our kids to be brave and face things? It is hard. It is exhausting and it is SOOOOOO draining. It is also so worth it. For you and them. I promise the experience will bring you moments of stress but it will also bring you moments of pure happiness. Let those moments drive you and be what push you to brave the next event. Push through the impossible moments and the more you do the less and less they become. They slowly learn how to act, how to be and how to enjoy it all with you.

Always remember Momma, you aren’t alone. We are all here just trying to figure this out and make it. You got this and we will look back on this stage of life one day and wish we were here again. Sitting in the middle of the crazy. Time is fleeting so soak it all up!

 

Love and Light,

Ashley

Seasons Change

The older I get it still completely blows my mind how quickly the seems to slip past us. I swear Summer just got here and now it is almost gone. Let me tell you; I AM NOT READY! This Summer was one for the books with my crew and myself. We soaked up all the sunshine, water and even the killer heat was embraced laying in the river as much as we could. We adventured our little hearts out and this season has honestly been one of my all time favorites for my boys and me. We spent countless weekends in “The Wandering Poppy”, our new to us popup camper we got and have been working on all summer. Found some campgrounds we love and some we don’t. We have endured pain, hurt and sickness as well. I have personally went through so many changes this season.

 

Some were definitely harder than others and they all taught me some tough life lessons. As the seasons change, so do we. Y’all, I have grown so much! I have learned to freaking love myself again! I have learned I am okay being alone. I honestly have learned how to thrive alone; not just survive. I have went to work for myself and I am quickly growing a good business that will provide for myself and my kids like what I need to. I have rekindled an old love that I have always had with Nature and I have embraced that every chance I have had! I have become a mom who listens, slows down, loves hard and most importantly smiles and laughs with my babies again.

 

When you watch yourself go through tough season we tend to lose that smile and laugh. The first time I caught myself smiling for no reason I knew I was finally headed in the right direction. That direction was found all on my own with deep soul searching. Once you can find that on your own without depending on others you know you are finally healing from those bad seasons of life. As I sit here writing this reflecting back I truthfully have no idea how I did it some days when I was drowning in my depression. All I know is that each day I tried to push harder, do better and be present. Then one day I was there, smiling. With each passing day I just push back. Only I can control how I react to what life throws at me and I hope my boys learn resilience from me. I hope they know that even at my worst I was trying. I was trying for them in all my faults and failures.

As Fall quickly approaches and the leaves begin to change colors and fall from the trees that carried them so beautifully all season, I want to remember what this season meant for me.

This Summer and this season of life. How they have helped me grow in ways most will never recognize or realize and that is okay. I don’t need anyone else’s validation but I know in my heart how damn far I have come. How hard I have had to fight to get here and how hard I will have to fight to continue to grow. But I am worth it. My boys are definitely worth it and so is the future I will build for us.

The season approaching is already so busy and filled with promises. Things that I can’t wait to see fall into place. Growth that will be amazing to watch unfold. More healing and I am sure heartache. That is the beauty of this chaotic life though isn’t it. For everything that is taken away something gorgeous will come to pass.

 

It may be hard but it will be worth it! Hang on tight doll, the best is yet to come.

Shine Bright,

Ashley

7 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

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Winter is so hard for me. I grew up in Florida. Where our Freezing normally stayed above or close to actually freezing and it didn’t generally stay that way long at all? Life happened and now I am in Missouri where winter is normally beyond freezing, grey and yucky. I struggle with it and honestly it has been something I dread every year. Eight winters here and I am slowly learning how to make it through the bitter months that seem to drag on forever.
So if you also get the Winter Blues like I do then maybe some of these things will work for you as well. I am not saying it will make it all go away but these help it seem a little less brutal.
• Make a winter cleaning list. pick things to tackle during the winter that you maybe didn’t have time for during the summer months. Deep clean one room at a time. Organized all those closets that you hate digging through. It always helps me when I am organizing to make a keep, trash and donate pile. The purging of the old things and deep cleaning helps me feel like I am tackling winter in a productive way.
• Surround yourself with light. Warm lights, open curtains, lamps and when the sun is out bundle up and get some rays. Soak it up when you can!
• Get some house plants. Plants make you feel like you are bringing some of the outside in. They will give you a sense of spring. Not to mention they brighten any room and add filtration to the air in your home.
• Re-decorate or give rooms in your home a face lift. Who has time to have the winter blues if you are giving a room a fresh coat of paint. Moving furniture around or evening giving pictures and art work a new place to hang in your home.
• Make a winter book list and start reading. When you catch yourself feeling low or unmotivated pick up a book and get lost in it.
• Start a workout plan. You can do this at home, a gym, yoga studio or put on some warm clothes and hit the road. Hiking, running and walking can all be fun to do even during the winter. Exercising is going to help you feel better and get those happy endorphins flowing. Even if it as little as following a daily stretching or short yoga routine. There are so many free workout apps, Pinterest workouts or trainers out there that would love to get you on the right track. Trust me once you get started you won’t regret it.
• Find a new hobby! Contact your local art association and see if there are any classes. Start doodling, re-finishing furniture, knitting or sewing. Pick something you think would be fun and start taking steps to learn a new trade. This doesn’t have to be expensive and hey you may even make enough or be good enough to sell some of it and make some extra cash.

I know how difficult it can be to push through these cold and dreary months that seem to drag on forever. However, finding something to keep you busy is key. Not only could you be learning new things you will be starting spring out with a clean house, in better shape and ready to get outside and enjoy all that sunshine and warmer air when it gets here. So this winter instead of allowing yourself to get down in the dumps. Choose to get motivated. Make the best of your time inside and get caught up on all those things that we don’t get done when we are outside soaking in the sun during the spring and summer! Let me know if you have any other ideas. I would love to hear what pulls you through the winter!!

Much Love,
Ashley

Be the difference

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I have always struggled. To be happy, to rise above my anxiety, to push through the difficulties of life. I mean really, who hasn’t. Everyone “copes” differently though. From my perspective looking at other people I always wonder how everyone seems to do it so flawlessly when I am falling apart. I am sure this is farthest from the truth though. I am sure that others are completely falling apart on the inside even when they seem so well put together on the outside. I am also sure there is someone looking at me thinking I am strong and have my shit all together.

I don’t though. This point and place in my life has me feeling like I am constantly trying to keep my head above the waves that relentlessly pushes in over and over again. My heart is a constant dull ache and I have never felt more alone. I tell myself daily that I can do this. I am stronger then this. When in reality I am lost. How would life look if we were all more honest about how we feel? Would we be there for each other more? Would we check in on each other more? Truthfully I don’t know if speaking it out loud would help. In our society and society’s standards I think it would push people away. We don’t know how to help others that aren’t “Okay”. Think about it.

You ask your co-worker ” How are you today?”

They respond, ” Honestly, not great.”

How do you respond. How do you handle this? In my own reality most people ignore that you didn’t give them a positive answer in the first place or they respond with a half concerned, “It will get better.” “Keep your chin up.” or ” This to shall pass.”

These to me all undermine that the person could really be going through something and need  someone to really confide in. We live in a society with staggering suicide rates, the annual age adjusted suicide rate is 13.26 per 100,000 individuals per year in the U.S. it is the second leading cause of death in young people ages 15 to 24! How are we okay with that and how do we change this?

First, I think we need to stop telling people to get over it and show them we actually care. You may not see it but what they are going through could really be hard for them.

Just because you may not understand their situation doesn’t make it any less real for them. Everyone copes and deals with things differently. It is real, and hard and painful for them. You may not have to understand it, but you can be there for them and be supportive.

 

If each one of us took a moment to be kind when we are in a hurry instead of rushing through life you never know who you could touch and make a difference for them. I don’t say all this to say I don’t have people here for me. I do and they are wonderful and I love them so much for their support and love. I say this because not everyone has that same support system. I say this because maybe just maybe we all as a whole can stop and try and see what someone else is going through. View it from their perspective so we can be there for them more in a way that will make a difference in their life.

 

Maybe, just maybe we could make a difference in someone’s life who really needs it. Lift up those who are drowning and be a light for those who feel like they are in constant darkness. Sometimes all it takes is just giving a smile, a hug or listening when no one else does. Those tiny acts of kindness could make a big change for someone.