Long summer breaks can be a bag of mixed emotions. On the one hand there’s sweet freedom from early morning starts, rushing and routines. Eating breakfast in your PJs, lunch and dinner whenever anyone’s hungry. No homework hassles or chauffeuring to after-school clubs and activities.
On the flip-side, you’re on full-time mama duty. Your normal daily schedule’s thrown totally out of whack and you’re missing that vital me time. You get tired of your own nagging voice and by the time school starts again you’re practically burning rubber at the school gates.
A few years ago I decided not to let the summer holidays feel like a roller coaster ride of highs and lows. I broke out my notebook and created a strategy for my Best Summer Yet.
And it worked! Getting clear about what I actually wanted was the key to guiding it in the right direction. It’s become an annual ritual and my summers keep getting better and better.[more]
I’m beyond excited to announce that my book, Project Me for Busy Mothers: A Practical Guide to Finding a Happier Balance is now available for Amazon pre-sale order!
Without an epidural or morphine, birthing this book has been a looooong, drawn out and somewhat painful process. And the actual due date isn’t until the 25th of January!
But like all newborns, once they’re safety delivered into the world, the labour pains are soon replaced with pride and joy. Of course newborn babies aren’t subject to Amazon reviews, so there could be more pain to come!
I’ve been more heavily involved in the cover art, inside layout, design and graphics than I ever expected. but it’s all coming together beautifully now.
Many of you Project Me mamas have played a BIG part in this book by answering my questionnaires, joining my on-line programmes, attending my live workshops and retreats, working with me one to one, and commenting under blog and social media posts. You’re weaved into the pages of this book, making it yours as much as mine.
My publisher tells me that pre-sale orders are super important and help push the book up the search engine ranks, as well as giving book shops an indication of how many copies to order.
I used to begin each summer with a fresh sense of optimism. But it wouldn’t take long for the novelty to wear off. I soon grew tired of feeling like the chief entertainer / housekeeper / cook and negotiator. My kids began to tune out my nagging voice, especially my half-hearted attempts to get them off electronics. Or to read, do summer homework or help out around the house.
I finally figured out that I needed a summer strategy. A game plan going in so I could navigate the school break without losing my marbles. And you know what? It works! My summers keep getting better and better. And I’m pretty sure my kids feel the same way. I mean who wouldn’t prefer to hang with a happy mama?!
Whether you’ve got a full summer schedule of plans, travels or activities to organise OR you work and need to figure out how to balance it all OR you want to free-style your summer days and play it all by ear, it’s worth getting clear about what you want out of summer for yourself and your kids.
That’s why I’ve created the Summer Strategy Kit – 24 gorgeous printables to help you cruise through the summer months without losing your cool too often.
Here’s a little glimpse of some of the printables for YOU…[more]
Would you like to feel extra special on Mother’s Day instead of it being the same as any other day? Wish your family would make some kind of effort towards making you feel loved and appreciated?
Since I became a mother 17 years ago I’ve had a few bummer Mother’s Days – especially when we were living in Spain and nobody knew which day to celebrate, so it just didn’t happen at all.
Now EVERY Mother’s Day equals extra hugs, homemade cards, breakfast in bed, lunch out and a day off from cooking and clearing up. YESSSS!!!!
Okay – listen closely. Here’s what you need to do to ensure you have a Mother’s Day filled with whatever would make you feel extra special. [more]
Is mom guilt / mummy guilt taking up too much of your valuable headspace and eating away at your happiness?
How often do you have thoughts like:
I shouldn’t be working – my kids need more attention.
I should be working so we can afford more for the kids / I can be a better role model for my daughter / I can use my brain.
I didn’t spend enough time playing with my child today.
I didn’t get anything done today because I was playing with my child.
I let my kids eat too much junk / play too many computer games.
I’m too strict / too lenient / too inconsistent.
I didn’t make it to the gym AGAIN.
I haven’t sent out the thank you cards.
I’ve got nothing decent to make for dinner.
I was so moody and mean last night.
It goes on and on and on….
Some guilt is pointless and soul destroying. We ‘should’ all over ourselves, ruminating over small things that don’t really matter or big things we can’t do anything about.
Could some of those guilty feelings be a signal to look at parts of your life and see where you might not be living in alignment with your values? Could uncomfortable pangs help you to pay closer attention and motivate you to make changes? Could guilt be the push you need to do things differently?[more]
Ballet, football, gymnastics, swimming, music lessons… Do you feel like you might have over scheduled kids?
Are you shuffling them around from various clubs and activities to the point you’re exhausted and not even sure if they’re enjoying it anymore?
I recently read an article in the Huffington Post by Dr. Samantha Rodman, a clinical psychologist and mother of three.
She says that while some families thrive on a lot of activities, others don’t. It’s important to pause and have a proper think about it, rather than continue on auto-pilot.[more]
Kids say the funniest things.
Once your child starts talking, they never cease to come up with questions and comments that crack you up.
You might think you’ll remember this stuff, but there’s a good chance you won’t.
My boys are teenagers now and I’m kicking myself for not keeping a family book of quotes much earlier.
I used to say, ‘I’m going to write that in my book of quotes!’ as a joke, but I never got around to actually doing it until they were six and nine.
Better late than never! Our family book of quotes is a source of great amusement to me and I turn to it whenever I could use a good giggle.[more]
I recently had the pleasure of attending an inspirational talk in Madrid by Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post and author of the wonderful book ‘Thrive’.
The subject of her talk was one very close to my heart: Balance & Mindfulness.
When she asked if anyone had any questions, my hand shot up. Before I knew what was happening, a microphone was thrust into my hand and I was told to stand up and introduce myself.
I’m a huge admirer of Arianna, so my face burned and heart raced, but I believe it went something like:
Hi Arianna, I’m Kelly Pietrangeli of Project Me for Busy Mothers and I help women find a happier balance between the kids – and everything else. (Whew! All of those months of memorising my ‘cocktail line’ paid off!)
My busy mother readers and clients all say the same thing:
‘My to-do list is never ending! There are never enough hours in the day to get it all done.’
They go to bed feeling exhausted and guilty for everything they haven’t managed to get done.
Arianna, what would you say to the mother with the never-ending to-do list?
There’s always going to be your to-do list. But you also need a gratitude list. Every single day, write at least three things you’re feeling grateful for.
The more gratitude you have for all of the people and things you have in your life, the more grace you’ll extend yourself for not ‘getting it all done’. Focus on what you achieved each night before bed, not on what you didn’t manage to do.
Of course, this made my heart sing, and if you’ve been following Project Me for any length of time you’ll know that I’m always banging on about gratitude as a daily practice.
When my cousin and I were teenagers, we were hanging out at my grandparents farm in Minnesota, dreaming about how great our future lives were going to be.
My big plan involved living in California with an ocean view, driving a convertible and working in Hollywood.
I’d never even been on an airplane in my life, much less visited California…
He was going to start a business, be his own boss, and design and build his dream house with his own two hands.
Our uncle overheard us from the other room and came in with a suggestion. Why didn’t we write our dream predictions down so we could see later if they turned out? He then taped our predictions to the back of the picture hanging above the kitchen table where we were sitting.
Fast forward several years. I’m in my early 20’s and I’ve just arrived home from work. Sorting through a pile of mail, I find a letter from my grandmother in Minnesota.
She writes to tell me that while the farmhouse kitchen was being repainted, they discovered the notes my cousin and I had written.
I looked up from her letter and gazed out my living room window. An enormous orange sunset was dipping into the Pacific Ocean.
I’d just driven home from work in my Volkswagen Golf convertible. My job? Working as Johnny Depp’s press assistant in Hollywood.
Meanwhile, my cousin had started his own successful heating and refrigeration business and had just designed and built his dream house.
This woke me up to the amazing power of having a dream and writing it down like it’s really gonna happen!
The second pivotal moment in my goal setting journey came along soon after that.
Johnny Depp decided to leave the TV show that had turned him into a teen heartthrob sensation. I thought he was nuts [more]
Happy New Year to you!
I love the start of a fresh new year. The wide open possibilities that lie in the months ahead, a chance to shake things up, try a fresh approach. Out with the old, in with the new!
It’s also time to empty out our family memory jar and start over again.
Last January my family started with an empty container. Throughout the year we filled it with notes about all of the good things that happened over the months.
I’ve probably added twice as many slips of paper into the jar as anyone else, but the kids have been pretty good about writing notes after we’ve returned home from a trip or a particularly fun day out and I’ve reminded them to include any awards received at school or bringing home a great report card.
The plan was for us all to gather around the jar and read all of the notes inside on December 31st.
We were away over New Year’s (creating some great final memories of the year!) so we postponed the opening of the jar until we got back and could light a fire, serve up some drinks and make a nice little occasion out of it.
We took turns drawing out a note and reading each one out loud.
It was fun to remember all of the good stuff that’s happened over the past 12 months. We applauded any merits, laughed at some of the funny occasions and were pleasantly surprised when we read out three slips of paper written by friends and extended family members who’d slipped in memories about their stay with us. [more]
I’m not a parenting expert. I don’t even play one on TV. I may occasionally start talking like I know it all and the next the day my kids put me back in my place by defying all acceptable codes of behaviour.
Now that my boys are teenagers I can see one particular area where I might deserve a gold star.
It’s important that my kids know they can talk to me about anything.
I never felt that way growing up. It’s sad to read my old diaries from age 10 to 18.
I lied and kept secrets. I snuck around behind my mother’s back. I didn’t feel I had anyone I could talk to.
I don’t want my own kids to feel that way.
So I’ve always been an open book with them. I share how I’m feeling, the ups and downs of my day and stories of my childhood so they realise I was once a kid too and I remember what it was like.
I’ve told them to preface tricky conversations with, ‘I want to tell you something but I don’t want you to get mad’, which gives me a chance to take a deep breath and listen without getting mad.
And they seem to tell me what’s going on in their lives.
A good relationship with your child gets you through the hard times and creates more good times. The more connected you are with your child, the more tuned-in you become. You’ll notice the signs if something’s wrong. The more connected they feel to you, the more they’ll open up to you.
Children who feel a special connection with their parents are more likely to see them as being on their side rather than against them. This comes in very handy in the teenage years, believe me.[more]
‘I’m bored.’ ‘I don’t know what to do.’ Sound familiar?
Inevitable words out of the mouths of our kids during the school break.
It’s great to organise trips, days out and social get togethers but don’t feel you have schedule their every move. Children need the time and space to transition from busy school routines to laid back livin’. It’s ok to feel a bit bored sometimes, they just have to find their own way out of it. (And that doesn’t have to mean endless hours glued to Minecraft.)
A few summers ago I pre-empted the cries of boredom by getting my kids to create a Not Bored Board. It worked a treat and has become an annual tradition.