Our minds can be full of clutter, especially as moms, as we think about and plan for everything that both our children, we, and our husbands need. It can be so overwhelming! In this episode, Jen Riday of the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, shares how she keeps herself centered, calm and reduces stress in her life as a mom of six.
What You'll Learn in this Episode
This is part two. Listen to part 1 here – From Mom Burnout to Fulfillment.
- How to decide the priorities and values for yourself and your family and why they're so important
- How to parent based on connection and relationship first, and correction last
- The importance of a morning ritual and how it can set your day up for less stress and success
- All about Meditation – what is it, how to do it and how it helps to lower stress, anxiety, and connect you to your intuition so you can make decisions for your life that are in your highest good
Jen Riday is the host of the Founder of the Vibrant Happy Women movement and the host of the Vibrant Happy Women Podcast. She’s also a mom of 6. Jen helps women to heal their hearts and increase self love so they can more easily love those around them. Jen lives in the woods just outside of Madison, Wisconsin and loves yoga and hiking in her free time
Links in This Episode
- Jen’s website – jenriday.com
- Jen’s podcast – Vibrant Happy Women
- Tony Robbin's Priming Method
- Deepak Chopra's 21 Day Free Guided Meditations
- See all of the episodes from The Merry Messy Moms Show here
- Join in the fun & conversation in The Merry Messy Moms Show Facebook group
Know Your Priorities and Values
Growing up, her parents' values were work ethic and honesty. There was no room for fun and she didn’t like that! When she became an adult, she realized those are just values and she wanted to make sure there was room for fun and connection for her family.
She recommends to go online and search for values and pick your top ten, from most important to least important. Run all of your decisions for your family by those values – does it fit?
She realized that it’s most important for her to have quiet, connected time with God each day. Then next is fun with her family. Or you can look at it in terms of priorities – for Jen, it’s taking care of herself/spirituality, then health, then family, and career. She realized that health comes before family because when she doesn’t feel well, she doesn’t show up well for her family.
Balancing Work and Family Life According to Your Values
When she started her business, she was easily working 40 hours a week, but she found that didn’t leave enough time for her kids. Once she was done working, there was barely any time to make dinner, help her kids with their homework, and more.
Now she works 20-25 hours a week so when her kids come home, she can be focused on them and concentrating on connection. It’s allowed for TRUE quality time where she’s able to stop, look at them in the eyes, listen and connect. To show them that she’s there – full body presence and body language.
She has 3 work goals per day
At the end of every work day, she plans her next 3 big tasks for the next workday. And she ends each workday right before her kids get home, even if she hasn’t finished her work. She’s found that having clear work and and home boundaries has made it much less stressful and easier to be fully present in both areas of her life.
She used to let it bleed all over the place before, which is a challenge when you work from home as an entrepreneur. You really have to turn off work and focus on family.
Hiring Help Is Easier Now that She’s Aware of her Values
She’s found that hiring help is easier because one of her priorities is fun. So she has a housekeeper to help with the cleaning and meal prepping so they spend less time on the weekends cleaning and cooking. And she’s also thinking about getting help with the yard so her husband can have more fun on the weekends, too!
Then they have more dedicated time for going to a movie, or going to their favorite restaurants.
Light Changes Darkness – Focus on the Positive with Our Kids
She was reminded while watching a sunrises how the light very gradually changes and minute by minute you may not see much of a difference, but in the end, the difference is quite dramatic.
She realized that as a parent, it’s easy to focus on all of the negative things with our children. You need to comb your hair, your teeth are dirty, your room is dirty, get a job, what kind of friends do you have, tantrums, sibling rivalry, etc. And we focus on the negative things thinking that’s the way to change the negative behavior.
But she realized, like with sunrises, the light pushes out the darkness. It’s the LIGHT that changes the darkness – darkness does not lighten the darkness.
So that’s where her value of fun came from – she realized that by focusing on fun and connection, that by itself can push out the darkness. Her children will feed seen, heard, loved, understood and that alone solves so many behavioral problems.
Parenting Priorities – A Pyramid
From the Arbinger Institute – see the details of the pyramid here
- Bottom – stay in the energy of peace
- Next – build relationships with your child
- Next – listen and learn
- Next – teach
- Next – communicate
- At the top – CORRECT
And so many times as parents, we spend most of our time correcting instating of building the relationship and connecting. And at the bottom is that spirituality and self care and that’s why it’s so important because if our cups aren’t full, we are going to be more impatient, grumpy, rude, and not have much energy to connect with some of the most important people in our lives!
So remember to listen and learn even before connecting – so when the kids are going crazy, instead of jumping to correction, consider listening and learning first. Why are they crying? Why are they upset? What is the root cause of this? And fix that as opposed to correcting.
Jen’s Self-Care Morning Routine
- 10 minutes of meditation
- 10-20 minutes of exercise (walk, kettle bells, lift weights)
- Breath Work – from Tony Robbin’s priming method and visualization for her top 3 work goals
Even though mediation has been thought of as an Eastern religion thing, Jen actually first learned meditation when she was 11 years old from her pastor in a Christian church. Her pastor walked the confirmation class through a guided meditation to calm them down, with breathing and calming phrases. She still remembers loving it and wondering what it was, because the pastor didn't call it meditation. So she feels it's not a religious thing – it's method of calming ourselves to be able to hear from our own intuition, or the Holy Spirit, God, whatever each person believes is their higher power. It's something that anyone of any faith or religion can do!
It's a powerful practice of deep breathing, and when we're breathing deeply and acting the diaphragm, it activates the vegas nerve, which tells your body to stop producing cortisol and adrenaline (the stress hormones) and gets your body and mind out of fight or flight and survival mode and into calm state. It also tells the brain to product more opiates – dopamine, serotonin – the natural happy drugs!
And the great thing about mediation is that we always have our breath! We can do it anytime, anywhere. No equipment needed.
Benefits of Mediation
- Calms, soothes
- Reduces stress – gets us out of the feeling like we have a million things to do and not enough time to do them to more calm
- Connects us with our own inner voice, so we can hear more clearly what we want and need, and make decisions that are truly in our best interest
- Increases the good hormones like dopamine and serotonin for more happiness, joy
- Reduces reactivity to where we can think more logically through a stressful situation
- Lessens depression and anxiety
- It's like taking your daily multivitamin
Tips for Getting Started with Meditation
To get started, you can start with a guided mediation to make it easier to quiet your mind. Because it is a practice to learn to quiet your thinking mind to be able to connect with your soul, to feel the Spirit of God, and at first it probably won't be easy. So to listen to someone who can walk you through it makes it easier to master the method. I used Deepak Chopra's free guided meditation videos on YouTube when I first started.
Jen recommends walking meditation and/or starting with yoga, which also teaches you to use your breath and quiet your mind. Also, using music helps to be able to focus on it and the sounds in it and soon you'll find that your anxious, frantic thoughts are diminishing and are getting more quiet.
Another tip is to keep a journal beside you and write down the thoughts as they come through so that they have a place to land and can be released that way.
The BOLD Method
- B – Breath – deep breaths, focus on your breath
- O – Observe your thoughts without judgement – it's okay if you have many thoughts. Use music, or walking, or a journal to help your mind focus back on your breathing
- L – Let Go of thoughts or feelings that don't serve you
- D – Dialogue – this is when you can connect to your higher power (for Jen, that's God) and ask questions and then you're in a really great place to be able to hear clearly for the answer. She likes to ask – what would you have me do today?
Mother's Intuition is Best
We both have learned as moms that we have God-given, biological intuition with which to raise our kids and mediation has helped us so much to connect back to our intuition, which we believe is the voice of God guiding and directing us.
So meditation can help us go from using intuition for just our kids' sake, and using it also for ourselves and to learn to TRUST it and act on those inspired thoughts.
Her Favorite Rituals
Her favorite place to be is her bed! And she loves when one of her kids comes to cuddle in the bed.
Her favorite ritual is meditation. It's how she makes all of her decisions from parenting to her business and if she doesn't have a strong feeling of YES, then she waits on that decision.
Using her intuition for her business has been very powerful and has led to success as well. Because when we start a new business, we like to learn from others, which is good and helpful. But at some point we need to put up the blinders and start doing what works well for us.
Good that Comes from Struggle
She has found the biggest thing that's come from struggle, like marriage struggle, is compassion and empathy. She understands where others are coming from the more she experiences struggle.
And also wisdom to know that everyone is also doing as she is doing – the best they can do and are following their own intuition, so it helps to judge less and love more. Understand more that we each have our own paths.
You know what's best for you own life! Which helps to stop comparing your life to another person's life. Jen says she's finally gotten to that point where she realizes there's no point in comparing because she knows her our lives are like apples and oranges – so different! We don't know what they're dealing with or struggling with. Stay in your lane.
Vibrant Happy Women Club
For women who want to take action on what they learn in her weekly podcast, Jen has a group of women who discuss the podcast with guided questions and mediation and they get together virtually for support and connection! It's a supportive amazing group of women who help you to rise faster and be the best version of yourself. Find out more at https://club.vibranthappywomen.com/join/.
See all of my podcast episodes here!