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My Top 5 Takeaways from 2023

Episode Summary:

If I’m being honest, 2023 was a really hard year for me – I experienced a constant learning curve as a business owner and on the personal front, my dad spent a lot of time in the hospital which upended our daily lives. But among those hard times, I was able to learn a lot of really valuable lessons. So, as we’re ending out the year on the podcast, I thought I would share my top 5 takeaways or lessons learned from 2023 and a little bit of background on each of them. I think these lessons are applicable to most moms, no matter what you may be personally experiencing currently. The Resting in Motherhood Podcast will be back with more episodes crafted just for you in the New Year!

Topics:

  • The reminder to take time to nurture yourself in this busy holiday season, no matter what that looks like for you 
  • Why 2023 was one of the hardest years for Brittni as a business owner and on the personal front, and the lessons she’s learned from it 
  • Prioritizing your self-care and knowing what’s important in life so you can be a more patient and present mom  
  • How prioritizing making and nurturing friends has been a game changer for Brittni 
  • How the hardships of 2023 helped Brittni realize she was stronger than she ever thought possible
  • Giving yourself permission to let go of the need to control things and go with the flow
  • Finding and crafting joy in the small moments, and how these memories may last a lifetime

Resources:

Read a raw, unedited transcript of this episode.

Brittni (00:00.642)

Hi, friend. How are you today? In the hustle and bustle of everything that is going on during this time of the year, I just wanna check in with you and see how you’re doing. And maybe you haven’t even thought about that. Maybe you pause right here and you think about what’s going on, how you’re feeling. This time of year, just with the holidays and travel and family and all of the gatherings, seeing more friends,

both wonderful and also can be really stressful. So I just want to check in with you and invite you to maybe take some time of reflection to check in with yourself. Are you feeling stressed? Are your shoulders tight? Is your jaw clenched? Can you maybe take a deep breath and relax yourself a little bit? Can you tell I just came from a yoga class? But really, I mean, it’s funny that when

we’re younger, we get so excited about the holidays. I mean, I love seeing how excited Lilah is and I love that joy and how long a month seems, but to me, right, like a month is like blink of an eye quick and it’s here. And as a parent, when we’re trying to prepare all of the things and plan everything, it can feel really overwhelming. And so I want to remind you during this really busy holiday season as we head into Christmas, if you celebrate Christmas,

as we head into new years, to just take some time to nurture yourself. Maybe that means carving out 30 minutes. Maybe it means carving out five minutes. Maybe it means carving out an hour or two for yourself where you can really just be still. I know we tend to wanna fill our time with getting everything done, but during this really busy time of year, I really want to encourage you to take some time to slow down and to reflect.

as well. I will share how I’m currently finding rest in motherhood, which is unplugging a bit from social media. This is my favorite time of year to unplug because two reasons. It allows me to really be present with my family during the holiday season, but it also

Brittni (02:27.778)

But it also helps me to kind of get out of my head because this time of year, while a beautiful time of year, we’re also seeing all of the gifts, all of the parties, all of the trips, everybody on social media is going on. And we can start to really play that comparison game and feel like we’re not doing enough, people have more than us, people are doing more than us. And it can really…

get us down when this should be a time where we should be really focused on our families and just focused on being slow and ending the year with love and family and light. So that is how I’m currently finding rest is I am staying off of social media a bit more. But I truly, I truly cannot believe we have reached the end of the year and what a year it has been.

It was by far the hardest year of my life. And I think collectively as a society, it was a hard year for a lot of us. For me, it was a hard year navigating running a business. Last year, 2022 was a really great year for me for business. 2023 has been kind of a learning curve of running my business, seeing highs and lows.

And then on top of that, it was my hardest year because my dad was in the hospital for almost seven months unexpectedly. It was something that happened very quickly that none of us had time to prepare for. And I have talked about that in previous episodes, but it really, it was a trying year, but it gave me so many lessons in motherhood as a woman, as a person.

And so I wanted to wrap this year up by discussing my top five parenting and motherhood lessons that I’ve learned this year in hopes that maybe you can take some of these lessons and not learn the hard way like I did, or maybe as you do some reflection for the new year, you can think about how any of these, uh, lessons that I’ve learned could help you have a better year next year.

Brittni (04:52.522)

So the first lesson that I learned this year was simply that I can’t do it all. I talked about this already in my dropping balls episode, which I highly encourage you to go back and listen to if you are feeling like you’re trying to juggle too much. But this was a really big lesson for me that truly has given me so much peace and freedom in motherhood. I’ve really learned that I can do less in motherhood.

and still be a great mom. Successful bit.

I can do less in motherhood and still be a great mom, successful business owner, and maintain my own mental health and take care of myself. This is where priorities really need to be clear. What pressures are we putting on ourselves that might actually not serve a purpose? And then what are the things that absolutely…

What are the things that absolutely need focus and love and attention in our lives? In the age of social media, we can often feel like we need to be doing all the things, but rest is powerful and being less stressed and a more present mom is an invaluable gift we can give ourselves. And so I think that this is a really powerful lesson. And sometimes we think like I’m not doing it all, right? Like

I know I’m, and that can stress us out, right? Like I’m not cleaning my kitchen the way I would love to have it cleaned. I’m seeing dirt on my floor. And we can start that load in itself is putting another ball up in the air because it’s that mental load. And unfortunately, I don’t think anyone has figured out how to eliminate the mental load that we carry. If you have a partner.

Brittni (06:44.106)

I absolutely recommend having a discussion about how you can split that mental load. But I think if we can give ourselves the permission to truly not do it all, life gets a lot easier. I used to be a type A clean freak and sometimes I crack myself up because I’ll see like the mess, like I’ve.

I’ll have like little piles of stuff, right, that need to get put away. And they used to get put away a lot more frequently and now like sometimes they’ll sit there for a week or two weeks and that used to drive me crazy. But to me, I’ve started to learn that I have to prioritize what’s going to best serve me. So sometimes that means instead of organizing that pile or cleaning up something, I’m gonna go take that time and I’m gonna take a hot shower.

while I’m alone. I’m going to go journal. I’m going to go read a book. Whatever the case may be, I’ve really started prioritizing what is going to best serve myself and best serve Lilah. Is it going to better serve Lilah if I’m trying to do too many things and end up being burnt out, stressed out?

and then maybe a little bit bitter or just not as present or focused as a mom? Or is it gonna better serve her to maybe like let something, as I said in my dropping balls episode, drop a ball and then use the energy that ball would have taken to be more present with her, to fuel my mental health so that I can better show up for her as a mother.

Brittni (08:33.022)

Like I said, this is so freeing because I think we live in a society where it’s hustle culture, right? Even if it’s hustle mom culture, like we feel like we need to be doing it all. We feel like we need to have the cleanest house. We need to be doing the coolest activities. We need to be doing all the outings, making the most beautiful meals while also maintaining

our mental health so that we can show up for these little people in front of us. And it’s too much. We truly weren’t meant to do it all. And so I think we really need to take a step back and stop trying to do it all and see where we can drop those balls and make life easier. So that was my biggest lesson. 

Brittni (00:01.662)

My next lesson is friendship and motherhood is a game changer. This has really been my year for making friends and motherhood and it has been so good for my soul. I’m an introverted extrovert, so it’s hard for me to open up to people, but once I do, I’m 100% extroverted once I trust you and I’ve brought you into my inner circle.

So making friends in early motherhood felt really hard for a few reasons. First, I simply didn’t have the energy to try to fit new people into my life when I was learning how to take care of a new human. I was learning who I was as a mom. I was looking in the mirror and seeing a person.

Brittni (00:53.866)

Thank you.

Brittni (01:17.098)

I was looking in the mirror and seeing a person that I absolutely didn’t recognize. And so I didn’t have the energy to try to go out and make local mom friends. I just didn’t, it didn’t feel organic. It didn’t feel like something that I could manage in my life at that time. The other reason it was really hard for me to make friends in early motherhood.

was it felt really intimidating to try to make friends in a culture that primarily parents really differently than I do. So I mean you go to the park, you hear the parents start talking about sleep and my defenses would go up right away because I didn’t want to go into this conversation about yeah I bed share.

Yep, we nursed asleep. Yes, I contact NAP and I just didn’t have it in me to have those conversations. And I also didn’t want to be fake. And so I think this really kept me from connecting with other mom friends. Part of me wants to say that I wish I would have tried harder for friends in the early days of motherhood so that I wouldn’t have felt so lonely. But I also feel like the friendships in my life came into my life in the-

perfect time when I was ready to also be a part of a friendship, right? Because I just don’t think I had it in me in those early years and those first two years really to give a lot. Now I have friends in my life from pre-motherhood. One of my really close friends is not a mom and I am so thankful for her because she’s really given me the beauty of a low maintenance friendship where…

We’ll send each other voice memos. We’ll try to see each other, but she truly understands how hard motherhood is. And so I’m so thankful for friendships like that. But trying to make new friendships in early motherhood just felt really hard. And something interesting happened that I know not all of us get, but after Lilah’s first birthday was right, when I started my business, when I started my Instagram page. So I started building this online community of

Brittni (03:29.754)

like-minded moms, I was chatting with moms in my DMs, and it just felt so fulfilling to make these connections to have this community, even though they weren’t people that I had met in real life. And so my message for you would be, if you feel like you need a village of support, if you feel like you are craving that friendship and motherhood, get outside of your comfort zone a little bit. Chat with a mom at the park.

Even if you guys do have parenting different parent, even if you guys do have different parenting values, it doesn’t mean that the friendship can’t work out. I think I do regret that a little bit in early motherhood, but I also don’t think that I had the energy to kind of navigate that. So if you feel like that you could navigate that, go for it. I’ll also say that I think a lot of people,

are closet bedchairs or lie about their baby’s sleep. So oftentimes from the outside, we might think, oh great, like we’re not gonna have anything in common. But one thing I’ve noticed when I go to the park is I really listen to how people talk to their children. And if it feels very aligned or very similar to how I talk to Laila, how I respond to Laila, I’m like, okay, I think we’re gonna…

we can relate, we can connect because I hear the way that they’re talking to their child and it sounds very much like how I do with respect and empathy and love, no shaming, no yelling. And I mean, we all, we all yell a little bit, right? But my point being, if we can find those people at the park, then those are probably going to be people that are going to be easier for us to relate to. Now, again, I’m not saying we all, we have to have friends who only have the same

But if that’s something that makes you more comfortable, that’s something that you could look for. Another thing that you could do is connect with someone on Instagram. This is a great way to make friends. Two of my very best mom friends I met through Instagram, I will say obviously it’s a little bit different having like a page where I’m posting things so people are commenting, communicating with me.

Brittni (05:49.25)

but you can absolutely make friends on Instagram. In fact, if you wanted to, if you wanted to go to the comment section of my Instagram, I will have an Instagram post for this podcast episode. And if you wanted to go in there and put, my name is Brittany, just use myself as an example, my name is Brittany, I’m a mom to a four-year-old. I would love to connect with other moms, even if it’s virtually.

And let’s start some conversations in the comments, right? Like this is how I find it is easier to make friends with moms almost over the online space because there’s no face to face, right? Like you can chat and really start talking to people. If you breastfeed, you could go to a breastfeeding group. If your child is in a class or an activity, you could try to socialize with the parents there. But one important aspect of making friends in motherhood

is making friendships that are going to feel easy and soul-filling. I love my virtual mom friends because we just shoot voice memos back and forth to one another, and we understand that life gets busy, and sometimes we respond right away. Other times we respond a few days later. Sometimes we forget, right? One of my really, really close girlfriends, like…

I’ll send her like four voice memos in the morning and she might not have time to respond back and then something else will pop into my head or something will happen. And then I’ll send her another four. And then maybe she’ll send me 10 that night, right? And then I might not get to it to the next day. But those friendships have really filled my soul. We always joke that it’s like a mini podcast, but it really helps you feel less lonely and you really can just chat about.

all of the things you’re going through in motherhood. One really nice thing about having a friend that you can shoot voice memos back and forth to is if you’re home with your child all day long, it can start to feel really lonely because you’re not talking to other adults. And this is a great way to get some adult interaction in your day without having to leave your house, without having to plan a play date or a coffee date. So if you can find one of those friends.

Brittni (08:09.154)

keep them and love them and nurture them because they will truly fill your soul. The next lesson that I learned this year, and I hope we can all learn this, is that I truly am stronger than I realize. As I said, this was the hardest year of my life, and there were so many times I wondered, how am I going to make it through this? How can I?

make it through another day of parenting, truly solo parenting, especially when my dad was in the hospital and I had no village around me, running a business. And there were so many days that I was just like, I don’t know how I’m going to get through tomorrow. Like as I was going to bed or I don’t know how I got through today. And yet here I am, I made it through. It was really, really hard and I’m still here. And I think-

There’s been so many times in my life where I’ve learned this lesson. For example, when I first went through my divorce, I was terrified. And now I look back and I’m doing all of these things by myself that I was so afraid of doing when my marriage ended. And now I just do them without a second thought about it, right? And so I wanna remind you that you’re so much stronger than you realize. You’re raising a child.

you are navigating who you are becoming as a mom. If you have a partner, you’re navigating a relationship which now looks different because there’s another person or another few little people, however many children you have in your life. And that is really hard. And you’re also like running a house if you have a business or you work. There’s so many things that you’re doing that I want you to think about and remind yourself that you’re doing.

I had this really powerful moment the other day while I was in a yoga class. I got the chills. I almost started crying because I live close to a college town, actually where I went to college. So I walked into the yoga studio and here’s all these cute young college girls and their cute little outfits, their shorts and their sports bras, and they all look so cute.

Brittni (10:35.302)

my first thought was like, I used to look like them. And that like at the beginning of the class, I was like, I used to look like them. Like, look how strong they are. I’m sure they’re working out every day. I remember when I was working out every day and my body was that tight, right? And as I went through the yoga class and I felt that power within me, this voice was like, okay, Brittany, so.

Yes, that version of you may have been physically stronger in the sense that you were working out more, you were moving your body more, but you have birthed a child. You have breastfed a child for four years. You have gone through so many ups and downs that have made you so much more emotionally stronger.

And so while yes, your body might look different, like you are 110% stronger than college Brittany or high school Brittany or young adult Brittany in her twenties, right? And so it was this powerful moment of like, wow, like I am strong, I have done so much. And so I wanna remind you that strength is in you too, even if you don’t feel it and even if you don’t see it, that strength is there.

and you are amazing. My next lesson that I learned in motherhood is life and motherhood are messy and I cannot control everything. This one has been another really big lesson for me. I had so many plans for this year that absolutely did not work out due to everything that happened. And as a type A person, it was so hard to have so many things outside of my control.

But this really led me to a place of just trusting in the journey and rolling where life was taking me.

Brittni (12:38.514)

In terms of…

Brittni (12:44.658)

and just rolling where life was taking me. I think that we can tend to really wanna control things as parents and when everything is taken outside of our control and we can’t really do anything except live, while it’s really hard, it’s also really freeing to just focus on what we can do. Even with our children’s behavior, this one was key for me this year because I am a mama to a very,

spirited and highly sensitive child. And when life is like good, when we’re in a good routine, I noticed that she doesn’t seem to be as spirited or highly sensitivity, or she doesn’t seem to be as spirited or highly sensitive as she sometimes is. And I know that’s because with our routine, with a calm and regulated mom, her nervous system is more regulated.

I’m more tuned into her to anticipate her needs, but when life was kind of thrown outside of our control, I was dysregulated, she was dysregulated, we were eating differently, we were traveling an hour, so two hours every day, one hour there, one hour back to the hospital to see my dad. She was a dysregulated child. And there were so many days where I would beat myself up and think like, oh my gosh, she’s acting this way because I did this. Oh, she did this because I did this.

when in reality it just simply is who she is. And I can’t control that. I can’t control everything outside of our control. All I can do is accept who she is and see where we’re at in the moment. If we’re in a place where a lot is going on and I can’t control everything, which I never can control everything, right? But when we’re in a place where life is just a little bit dysregulated, instead of placing that blame on me and thinking that I can control her behavior,

I simply have learned to just accept that’s who she is. I can’t change her. I can only show up and be the best mom that I can be to her and help her regulate and help her work through these hard moments. And so that lesson of not being able to control everything and life and motherhood being messy, again, is a really freeing one because it allows us to just let go. It allows us to accept where we are.

Brittni (15:11.17)

Focus on the things that we can control or work on, and then let the rest go and just trust in the plan, which I know is really hard. Or simply trust in yourself or your child or where you’re at currently. And lastly, and I wouldn’t say this is my last lesson, like this isn’t number five on a list of one to five. They’re all, I couldn’t, I don’t think I could choose, but this one is.

Small moments of joy matter and make such a difference. Again, in this season of life where I hardly had a village because my mom was with my dad in the hospital almost every day, I wasn’t getting the break that I was used to getting, like especially before my dad went into the hospital, like my mom would take Lilah for overnights or just say like, hey, I’m gonna go do this, I wanna take Lilah. So I wasn’t getting these free moments to myself.

And also we weren’t getting these special memories that I had imagined for our summer of the whole family up at the cabin or just different things, right? Like all of these things I had imagined these beautiful, joyful moments weren’t happening. And so it really became clear to me that I needed to start cultivating joy in the littlest ways that I could in our home for both myself and for Lilah. Instead of waiting.

having a mindset of, well, I guess we’re just gonna have to wait for joy until my dad gets out of the hospital. Now, don’t get me wrong. I mean, I was obviously still worried, but it was very important to me to focus on the present. Okay, there’s a lot going on that we can’t control. How can I infuse some joy into my life today? How can I infuse some joy into Lilah’s life today? And these are small, beautiful moments that actually will probably be remembered maybe more than some big joyful moments. So,

For me, that looked like getting myself a coffee when I wanted one, making myself a coffee at home. Lilah loves making bouquets, so we started making it a regular tradition. Like once a week, we would go to the store, get the flowers to make the bouquets, and make them together. And then we would have beautiful flowers in our home to look at that would bring us joy. These small little things, right? I would put flowers in the bedroom.

Brittni (17:35.146)

I’m a plant lover, so maybe once a month I would go buy a plant and Lilah loves plants too. And these are tiny little things that add joy. So now when I walk by a plant, I look at my little plant baby and it gives me joy. And so I think we can focus on adding these small moments of joy into our life. Maybe it’s a dance party. Maybe it’s simply talking about the best part of your day with your child and having them tell you back if they’re speaking.

just find those small moments of joy and you have to cultivate them a little bit. And then the more you get into that practice, the easier it is. So find those small moments of joy. As we’re in the holiday season, I know there’s also big moments of joy, but I also wanna remind you, especially with the holidays here, that if you’re seeing all of these cute holiday traditions and you’re thinking, oh my gosh, I haven’t done anything. We haven’t created any traditions.

release yourself from that guilt, find a small moment of joy. And maybe that small moment of joy becomes a holiday tradition that you carry on from here on out. Maybe it’s, I don’t know, waking up Christmas morning if you celebrate Christmas or whatever the case may be, waking up and stealing a 10 minute, like, quiet snuggle session with your child or reading a special book.

It doesn’t have to be the big grand gesture or tradition. It can be something small. So find that small joyous moment in your day, not just around the holidays, but in life in general. Those were my top five lessons that I learned this year, and I hope that you can carry them with you as you navigate motherhood. And I just wanna remind you that you’re doing an amazing job.

As we end the year, I really encourage you to take some time to reflect on the past year and think about what went well, what was hard, and just take some time to spend with yourself and really ground yourself. I’m wishing you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and I will see you next year.

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