Underachieving and loving it!

I used to be a really antsy parent. Actually if I’m being honest, I used to be a pretty restless person even before kids. When I stayed home with my babies, we rarely stayed home all day. That drove me crazy. We kept busy with walks, trips to the park, mommy and me classes, and visits to Target. Then, when the kids were preschoolers, we continued to stay busy with countless trips to the zoo, many more musical parks, playdates with friends, and trips to the book store.

I like a schedule and expectations so into elementary-age, we had a required reading time, limited electronics, and rules all while staying pretty active. Lots more outings to new museums, hikes, bike-rides, great vacations, and more playdates. We didn’t overdo it with organized sports or lessons; I have never been overkill with that. But, we took opportunities to get out of the house a lot. While Bo was content to stay put, I always liked a change of scenery.

Sometimes, I still do…..but just sometimes. Maybe it’s me getting old. Maybe I’m just too tired. Or, maybe I’m more content with being low-key (a.k.a. LAZY). I do truly know that after Brody was diagnosed with a brain tumor, something changed inside me, a new sense of peace (or could be exhaustion!). But, I became more easily satisfied with a lack of a schedule, staying put, and not feeling like we have to seek outside entertainment all of the time.

Not to say that this break we have stayed home and done nothing the whole time. My kids are not deprived! They ice skated. We went to Atlanta to visit friends. We saw lights in the Atlanta Botanical gardens. Anna got her first French manicure that she’s been dreaming about! We went downtown a couple times. They went to a trampoline place, and had many playdates. So, there’s been lots of fun but not much of a schedule. There hasn’t been any rushing. And, there has been LOTS of downtime!

There has been NO required reading or math. There have been many days of staying in pajamas all morning. There have been no limits on electronics. (The new Playstation 4 should blown up at this point!). There have been many new slime recipes and videos. There have been many days that I just decided to lay down after lunch without telling anyone (and the kids didn’t even notice!). There have been impromptu soccer games outside with the neighborhood boys (doesn’t matter how cold it is). There have been countless baby outfit changes, and babydoll haircuts! There has been time for mama to get lots of yoga and Facebook! We ate out a lot and skipped the grocery store. I did NOTHING for work, like nothing (do I even have a job!?)!

And, it’s been nice. I’m going to miss it. Underachieving and taking life as it comes is becoming more and more enjoyable. No plans is the best plan! This is the calm before the storm, the last weekend of peace for awhile. As I sit here in my flannel cookie monster pajama pants, I’m already dreaming of those snow days so I can continue this laissez-faire life!

Have a relaxing weekend! Go back to sleep. Stay put. Have a mimosa. Enjoy not-doing!


Let it Be

With this chilly weather, hot yoga has been feeling better than ever. In fact, with all of this wonderful thing called time on my hands, I’ve been to a record-setting 4 classes already this past week. I’m not necessarily going exclusively for the exercise but also for the mental cleansing it provides. The quiet, warm, dark space is ultra-relaxing. And, the small reminders I receive are comforting and confirmative.

The instructor I’ve had every class is also a therapist. While she doesn’t say a lot, the few tidbits of thoughts and advice she offers are insightful. She hits the nail on the head every time! (And, isn’t great when you hear the right message at the right time from a friend, in church, or even in yoga!?)

The past 2 classes have had the same, simple theme:

If you can’t change something in your life, just let it be.

While this doesn’t really sound profound, it does offer profound peace. I think of how many times, especially the first couple years of Brody and Anna’s life, I thought a challenging phase would never end. And for an impatient person like myself, each sleepless night or bad-eating stage would stress me way more than was helpful. When you’re in it, it feels like the ‘bad’ stage or challenging situation will never end. And just when you’ve read every book and asked every mom for advice, the stage just ends by itself without you doing anything.

With many problems, this is the case. We worry and stress, and try to wish the problem away. We hyper focus on making the problem the center of our world, trying to will it away. With our children, our relationships, and our hardships, we fool ourselves into thinking we are soley responsible or just capable of changing the situation when really we should often just let it be. Don’t DO anything.

A great therapist I went to last year also gave the same, simple thoughts to live by: Truth, Acceptance, and Choice. But, sometimes we don’t get things the way we want them to be; we think we don’t have a choice. But, we can CHOOSE how to feel and how to live WITH the problem, challenge, or situation. We have to accept truths that we don’t like. We need to LET IT BE. The more we try to change things, the more we can feel frustrated or stuck.

Hopefully, your day is filled with peace and bliss…..but if it’s not, don’t stress too much. Go for a walk or to hot yoga and just let it be.



Get your beauty rest!


It amazes me how sleep deprived our young children are. With some years of experience under my belt as a School Counselor, I began to realize that many problems in elementary age children could be prevented if children were simply getting enough rest. I-pads, phones, gaming systems, and t.v.’s are robbing our children of the recommended amount of shut-eye and we are seeing the effects in schools.

Anyone have a child who emotional, overly sensitive, irritable, or irrational when they get sleepy or hungry? They all are but they never realize it, of course! It’s true that some kids are more sensitive than others (and I know I must have my beauty rest and food or I’m a mess!). But, most children need the recommended 9-12 hours of sleep that they aren’t getting.

Yesterday, a school ‘friend’ who is actually a bit younger than my son was having a rough day. He’s 10 but has a teenage sister. He’s way more exposed to adult things than my son but also way more immature than him. He gets easily frustrated and makes foolish mistakes both in his academics and behavior. So, he asked to see me yesterday when he was needing a break and in “recovery”.

It was wise to ask for what he needs, rather than get in trouble, but I could tell he was on edge and struggling. And, I know him well so one of the first things I asked him was what time he went to sleep last night. -12 a.m.- He gets up at 6 a.m. to get ready for the bus. Now, I’m here to tell you that I’d be sleepy and angry with 6 hours of sleep, and I’m not 10. 6 hours of sleep!? He knew that 12 a.m. was late but he had NO idea that he only got 6 hours of sleep.

He laughed when I told him how much his body and brain needed to function at an optimal level (9-12 hours). No way was he going to sleep at 9 like my children because that’s when he comes inside, he said! Like many kids with older siblings, it’s hard to enforce different bed-times. But, this 10- year old is getting 5-8 hours of sleep a night. He plays on his phone after his dad has told him good night because he’s one of many kids I know who sleep with their devices.


Sure, parents like his can say goodnight but that’s not stopping kids. Most children don’t have enough self-control to want to choose sleep over devices so we have to remove this temptation. It’s hard enough with the homework and practices in the evening. The older they get, the later they start practices (and I hate that)! So on the evenings when we are home, we have to enforce what’s best for them even if it’s not what they like. Just look online and you can find an abundance of research to support this theory that kids with devices aren’t getting as much sleep as their peers!

We need our sleep! Weight gain, attention, memory, self-regulation, and irritability can all be linked to sleep, and kids aren’t getting enough. So when in doubt, try giving your kid some healthy, real food and getting them to sleep a little earlier. Make it even easier by just not allowing devices and gaming during the week. Their brains have enough to think about as is! And, make sleep a priority.


Summer Sarah

If you are a parent or especially if you are an educator, I know you’re loving summer! Summer time brings flexible sleep schedules, maybe even a nap or two if you’re lucky, friends and bbq’s, books and movies, and just the freedom to have a little bit more fun and flexibility. It’s a well-needed break!


Here’s the thing, it’s almost over friends! So, whatever you had hoped to do or complete, DO IT NOW! As you teacher-friends know, when school starts, forget it! You don’t have the time or energy to exercise after school or go to a casual dinner with friends. Shoot, we are lucky to still be awake at 9 for our favorite show! The first month of school (or the whole year!) sucks the life out of you.

What non-educators don’t realize is that no one would do the job if we didn’t get time off! Working with children is exhausting. Being on your game everyday and giving 100% is demanding. There are no business lunches out or long boardroom meetings. No, that would be an exciting rest. When you work in a school, you are ON all the time. We do it because we want to give our kids our undivided attention igniting their love of learning while also making sure their basic needs are met. And then they are the parents…our plates are full!

So while we have these last couple weeks of freedom, seize the day. Make sure you’re checking all those bucket-list activities off your list. Rest, rest, and rest! And make sure you’re practicing your self–care.

In the summer, I’ve nicknamed myself ‘Summer Sarah’. My husband knows better than anyone that Summer Sarah is more fun, energetic, happy, and exciting. Why? Because I’m not dog-tired. Self-care restores and I make it a mission to do what makes me happy during the summer.

Nurses, counselors, teachers, therapists, mothers, fathers, grandparents- we are the caretakers and it’s tough. Caretakers often feel exhausted because we put our own personal wants and needs second making sure the needs of others are met first. We make it our mission to keep others comfortable and happy while often times neglecting to do the same for ourselves. Over time, this makes us tired, irritable, or even resentful. This doesn’t make for good caretakers! We have to make time for ourselves too.

Self care:

  • a good diet

  • healthy habits

  • exercise

  • hobbies

  • rest

  • taking time for oneself

  • balance

We have to stop feeling guilty for taking care of ourselves because it just doesn’t make sense not to! How can our children get the best teaching, guidance, love, and understanding if their caretakers are unhappy and overspent? If you’re already spent, then make a decision to do something that rejuvenates you this week. We have to recharge.

If you’re well-rested and about to start something hard, then make a plan to keep yourself healthy. Be of healthy body AND mind by doing things that keep your spirit lifted. Sometimes there’s just time for reading a chapter of a good book at night or going for a quick walk around the block. It’s better than nothing. To prevent burnout, we have to take time for caring for the most important person, the caretaker!

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Realize that life isn’t a race.

Exonerate yourself from always doing. 

Set aside time for nothing.

Take time for reflections, prayers, silence, and each other. 

This past Sunday at church, the sermon was about rest. It’s a idea that you don’t have to talk me into! Yet, the idea resonated with me especially right now as we make some decisions about schedules and brace ourselves for the fall. Get ready for the whirlwind of open houses, new teachers, new coaches, and new friends. Back-to-school brings lots of change and excitement that it can really make time fly by. Before you know it, it’s football season! So it’s at this time of the year that I encourage you (and I remind myself) to set some priorities and limits for your children and family.

It’s become the norm in this country to be busy and overscheduled, as if life is a contest and the busiest wins. All summer long, families are filling up their summer ‘free’ time with organized activities. Camps during the day, more camps at night, sleep-away camps, practices, lessons, swim meets, and filling time….Go, go, go! And when school starts, it gets even crazier. GO, GO, GO, GO!

The only reason I am taking the time to reflect on this phenomenon is that I don’t think that everyone choosing this lifestyle is enjoying this hurried life. I often times hear the deep sighs of rushing mothers or the complaints of frantic parents about where they have to be next. Is there a reward in choosing to live like this?


Whether it be sports, music, dance, or even tutoring, we sometimes rush our kids through life, teaching them that busier is better with too many after-school activities. We should know as adults that this mentality and lifestyle isn’t benefitting our mental and physical health, or overall wellbeing. Lack of focus, irritability, and lack of self-control can all be linked to children who are overtired. As adults, we have to set limits and model having some down time too.

Remember, it’s a choice how you want to spend your free time. If you find yourself dreading or complaining that you have to do something, you shouldn’t be doing it. Set boundaries for yourself and your children. If it’s your child’s joy to play that sport, play that piano, dance or sing, or whatever it might be, then by all means, rush to get them there. However, many kids don’t want to be taking those 3 dance classes, and piano, and tutoring, and church…. Parents can overdo it.

Childhood is fast and it should be fun. We don’t have to rush to be good at everything or stay busy for the sake of being busy, telling people what our kids do. Time is valuable. Choose what you want to do with your time, and don’t automatically fill it up. It’s ok to leave time to pause.


Rest provides others the best versions of ourselves. Rest helps us remain true to ourselves. Rest connects us to God. If we don’t rest, we don’t pause to reflect on the choices we are making. As this school year begins, choose time for what’s most important, each other.



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