“The words you speak become the house you live in.” ~Attributed to Hafiz
We all know firsthand that finding balance in life in today's world can be a huge challenge. As mothers, we often have competing demands and finding balance can be really tough. Busyness is so much a part of our culture and it can take a major toll on our health and wellness.
I was very fortunate to welcome Margaret Schay into my home studio for a Women's Wellness Session. Margaret is a wife and the mother of three active children and amazes me with her energy, positive spirit, and organizational skills. She runs the blog Two Minute Mama and represents DoTerra Essential Oils.
Margaret has graciously shared some of her insights about how she finds balance while caring for her family and working. Our conversation about motherhood, balance, self-care, high-quality essential oils, and personal growth is below -- enjoy!
Margaret, I am amazed by all that you do! What are some ways that you find balance in your daily life?
Margaret: Wow -- thank you so much! It's such a pleasure to be here and have this opportunity with you. I really appreciate it. I have been thinking a lot about this - balance, finding balance, how do we find balance? what does that look like? I think it's different for everybody. Some people say there's no real balance, that it's just kind of picking your priorities and that's a form of balance but you can't give equal attention to everything. I think what works for me is planning my day the night before -- which I do not always do and need to work on that -- and having some type of template for the day. And I try to put that template into a hourly format, which, before, I would have thought was crazy and was a way to set you up for failure because you 3 o'clock rolls around and you haven't done anything you scheduled to do at 10 AM. But what I found was that it gave me a freedom to breathe because in my mind I could say "you know what? I'm gonna get to that at 2." And maybe I do get to it, and maybe I don't. But something comes up and I don't. But I put it in there and in my mind, there's some expectation that there is a time to do that. And if it doesn't get done that day, I can move it to the next day. Having my activities scheduled in a time slot is better for me than having a priority list. What I used to do is make a priority list -- you know, these are my top six things or whatever -- and just get through the day doing them. But what I found was that I actually was less productive than getting those things with just a priority list than with a time slot. I don't know if it's something to do with the brain and how it groups things, but that's helped me find a kind of balance in terms of getting things done. So, planning the day the night before. Also, having a 30 minute morning routine and having a theme for each day.
As a mom, it can be hard to fit in self-care into our daily routine, but this is an essential part of wellness. Do you have a self care routine? What are your favorite ways to care for yourself so that you can care for your children?
Margaret: I absolutely agree that self care is really important because when our tank is empty, how can we help our children? We're gonna be fried, short-tempered, tired. And I will admit, I definitely have a lot to improve in this regard. I do currently have a habit of getting up about 30 - 40 minutes before the kids and that is my quiet morning time. I have my coffee, I inhale my oils, I deep breathe with my favorite oils, which helps to center and ground me. And then I say my morning offering, my prayers. I read a little teeny, super-short devotional, just a little reflection. And then I listen to or read my affirmations. And that is all that I do during that time, but I really prioritize those affirmations. Those "I am" statements: I am loved, I am cherished by God, I am God's beloved daughter, I am a loving wife, I am patient, I am attentive, I am timely. And all of these things I am really working on and striving for. It's not that I'm all there, that I've arrived! I'm not at all there yet. But telling myself, expecting those things for myself has made a really big difference.
Annie: It's a shift of your energy, your focus.
Margaret: It is! Yes, it really is. It helps me to have that expectation instead of to settle. You know, to say "I'm always behind. I'm always impatient. I just can't get it together."
Annie: "The words that we speak become the house that we live in."
Margaret: Yes! Tiffany Peterson's Mindset Makeover is a great free resource (http://mymindsetmakeover.com/) -- she goes into that a lot! So, that is the extent of my current self care. As you will notice, there's stuff lacking there. There's no physical activity and I don't have anything set up for bedtime. My advice for moms looking for self-care is start small. Start where you can. So right now, that's where I started. And as I get that really firmly under my belt -- and I have been doing it successfully for about 6 weeks now -- and as I continue to make that a really big habit. The summer will be the real test -- can we do this over with the kids' summer break? Then I'd like to improve the evening. I'd like to add journaling and somehow in there, I'd like to add physical activity. Whether it's 5 minutes, 15, 20, 25 -- whatever you can start with, just start, with something that's special to you.
Recently, I got a chance to try some of the DoTerra Essential Oils and I was blown away by the quality. There just so different than what you'd purchase from the drugstore, but people don't always realize that there's a big difference in quality with essential oils. Why is so important to invest in high-quality products?
Margaret: It's really important to invest in high quality, because the purity of the oils is going to affect how they work and whether you can ingest them. A lot of DoTerra's Essential Oils are safe for ingestion (as long as they have a specific label for ingestion) and that can be a really incredible, powerful way to help heal internally. With gut health, cellular renewal, muscular, all kinds of different things we can do to support our systems in a variety of ways -- from emotional health to physical health to immune support. Being able to ingest them because of their high quality makes a big difference. Also, what we recognize as a scent are the chemical constituents moving in the air. So, how that oil is processed, when it's harvested, where it's from, how it's distilled, everything is going to affect the chemical constitution of the oil and therefore affect how you take it internally -- inhaling it as well. The quality is really important and DoTerra tests our oils thoroughly to avoid any contaminants of any type.
Margaret, can you tell me a bit about your blog Two Minute Mama and what you have learned from your work on that?
Margaret: Yes, Two Minute Mama was started to give moms a really easy tool to use -- two minutes, short and succinct. I wanted to give moms a way to learn what to say and how to coach their children with their emotions. So when your child is really upset or having a difficult time, how do we address that? What do we say? What are the actual words that we use? I think scripts are really helpful -- "You seem upset. Can Mommy help you with something?" So much when a child is upset, we start to rationalize with them. We start to argue with them. "I hate school! I don't want to go to school" "Well, we go to school everyday, that's what we do." They're not really saying that they hate school -- or maybe they do hate school. But what they may really be saying is -- it's hard to get up and go! "Do you feel tired? I feel tired. It's hard to get up and go! You like to just stay home some days. It's really nice to just hang out at home." And then they start talking about it. "Yeah!" Let's talk about what you want, what you're feeling, what's upsetting you, what's going on, instead of saying "Ok, stop!" or "this is just what we do." It's not about giving them license to act like animals, to be crazy or ruining dynamics in the family. It's about giving them the tools to actually express what they're feeling, happy or sad, and be able to process it. We absolutely have boundaries in our home. No one is allowed to pitch a tantrum at the dining room table and ruin family meal time for the whole family. But I tell my children "you can feel sad, you can feel mad, you can feel angry. The problem is when you scream at the table and we can't have conversation. Step away, and when you're ready to have conversation, you can come back here." So, give them boundaries, help them express what they're feeling, and give them that tool to help them process their emotions. That's really the goal of Two Minute Mama.
Many, many thanks to Margaret for the wonderful Women's Wellness Portrait session and for taking the time to provide us with these very helpful insights! I loved photographing Margaret for her personal brand and blog, and having the opportunity to take beautiful portraits that she can pass down to her children. Be sure to check out Margaret's blog, Two Minute Mama, to get easy-to-use tools for parents to help their children handle emotions. You can learn more about DoTerra at https://www.doterra.com/US/en
Annie Dash Photography is located in Sellersburg, Indiana and specializes in natural light portraits. If you'd like session availability and pricing information for women's wellness portrait sessions, please get in touch. I would love to work with you!
Phone: (502) 208-8756