EP43: Exploring the role identities of parenthood w/McKenzie Rueger
Being a working momma is tough; being the sole provider of your family adds in another level of complexity as well.
This week, we meet McKenzie Rueger who has recently taken on the role of main provider for her family of 4. McKenzie chats about the role identities of mother and fatherhood, generational differences of parenthood, and how working moms can truly go after what they want in their lives. Additional topics covered in this conversation include breastfeeding struggles, being a woman in the workforce, and asking for help as a mom. You’ll love McKenzie and her story!
Connect with McKenzie on Instagram @rowdybuncharuegers @beingonthegulf and her website www.beingonthegulf and Facebook @ McKenzie Rueger.
EP39: Achieving harmony in #momlife and the naptime hustle w/ Ashley Richards
You’ve heard about work life balance, work/life alignment… but how about work life harmony? It’s true, in motherhood finding that harmony in your work and home life is not always easy. Ashley Richards has found the harmony in her motherhood as a successful business owner and mompreneur.
Candice and Ashley chat about finding harmony in your #momlife and the naptime hustle– a time where Ashley encourages work-from-home-moms to pursue their passions while the children are down for naps. You can pursue your career goals while being a mom fulltime, and Ashley wants to encourage moms all over with this conversation.
We were getting out of the car the other day; Eilynn had just told me about a gold star she received at school as a result of being the “Class Leader of the Day.” I was deep in thought—and wanted to let her know how proud I was of her.
I opened the car door, and simply said- “Hey Eilynn…remember…” I couldn’t even finish the sentence, because she cut me off quickly and said, “I know, I know mom…hurry up.” My heart dropped.
“Hurry up? That’s what she thought I wanted to say to her?” In that moment, I was genuinely ashamed.
Mommas, how many times, does that simple phrase “hurry up” become the main request when speaking to our children?
“Hurry up and put on your shoes”
“Hurry up so we can get on the road”
“Hurry up, we’re going to be late for school”
“Hurry up and finish your dinner”
It was then, that I suddenly realized my daughter’s perception of me was that of a momma who is always in a rush.
Seriously—what’s the rush, mommas? Why are we in such a hurry to speed through life?
And, let’s be honest here—it’s typical. I recently aired a podcast addressing this ever-so-busy lifestyle that we have all adopted. We are in a constant state of GO-GO-GO from the moment we wake up to begin our days. We all lead prosperous lives filled with endless work, meetings, after school activities, parent-teacher conferences—the list goes on and on. It’s no wonder why most mommas complain about not having enough time in the day.
But, what message is this teaching my daughter–when she thinks that she must always hurry up?
What happens when she hurries up through her homework and doesn’t even grasp the lesson it’s supposed to teach her? What happens when she hurries through a tough decision that she needs to make and instead acts on impulse or emotion? What happens when she grows into another adult who never stops to give herself time?
I don’t know about you—but I’m tired of living a life where I’m constantly bombarded with schedules, time constraints and burnout. SLOWING down and taking time might be good for the soul.
On the podcast episode I mentioned above, I brought up my “1 hour early” strategy for slowing down and being more present on a daily basis. That’s what I’m hoping to achieve in life… more time to myself to be intentional and present…and not always hurrying up.
I want to teach my daughter that there is so much of life missed by always hurrying through it.
I picture her as that young ambitious six-year-old sitting in the front yard at a lemonade stand. You know the one. The kid who had all of the elaborate ideas and wanted more than any typical six-year-old would have imagined.
Although I never knew her back then, Sarah Moore has a strong entrepreneurial spirit that I feel so lucky to get to know through this project.
A high school English teacher by day, momma when she gets home, and creative writer by night—Sarah is on her way to success as she pursues her ultimate passion as an author and blogger.
On defining passion…
“[Passion] is that one small voice that won’t leave you alone…and it keeps you going even when you don’t want to.” To Sarah, passion is an urge that, no matter how hard she tried—she couldn’t ignore. In fact, Sarah mentioned that she’s started three different novels before she got to the one that she wanted to really write about. “I’ve even tried to avoid it sometimes, because it’s hard…to get into that book especially with a toddler running around, and that’s the reason I have the blog…”
She goes on to say, “I am not in an entrepreneurial field, and I keep coming back to [the fact that] I want to do something more, and teaching is a real intense job…and some people think I’m crazy for adding another thing to that, but it just brings me to life….and it won’t leave me alone.”
At what point did you know you were passionate about writing?
For Sarah, being a creative writer has been like a calling. It’s what she was meant to do. “Since I was a kid, I use to write stories…I use to tell stories, even if it wasn’t writing—I was involved in a lot of theater, I always had a vivid imagination, I would come up with these wild [stories] on my own—so whether I was writing it down or a little radio show I did as a little kid…no matter what medium I was using, I’ve always been interested in stories and other people’s experiences.” Sarah’s experience as a high school English teacher has helped her be able to hone in on her true passion for writing. “There would be times when I was teaching and giving a test, and a story would come to me and I just had to start writing it down.”
Being a working momma and wife, pursuing Sarah’s passion hasn’t always been easy. As most would expect, life responsibilities sometimes get in the way of being able to chase that passion. For Sarah, it was no different.
“Finding time and being creative in that time is an obstacle because once I come home, I want to give my full attention to my toddler.”
The challenge of time and balancing work/life balance is the biggest challenge for Sarah. Having a small amount of time in between weekend naps and running the household would create limited time for Sarah to be creative and work on her novel.
Having a strong support system is important for when the challenges become too hard to bear. “The biggest supporter, biggest cheerleader is my husband because even with all the stupid things I’ve tried [in the past], he’s always 100% supportive of each one of those things.”
At your inner core—who are you?
Defining who you are at your inner core takes some reflection inwardly. When asked the question, Sarah did not hesitate to provide an answer that really sheds like into the type of person she truly is. At her inner core, Sarah is a dreamer and creative thinker. “I am always somewhere in my imagination to think of a new idea trying to [make] a difference.” She goes on, “I want to make a difference. I want to help people and I dream to do that…I think my passion helps me with that.”
A novel in the making…
Sarah’s passion revolves around putting her creative imagination to work in a fictional novel that she is currently working on. Without giving away too much about it, the story will involve suspense, intrigue and a bit of history. “It’s weird when you put it out there—that you are writing—and it’s going so slow, but I am still sticking with it. It’s kinda like, ‘I’ve gotta do this,’ but it keeps me going…keeps me writing.”
Staying focused and intentional, Sarah has been working towards a lifetime dream of magnifying her creative side. While the future is never promised, Sarah embraces the pathway she has taken as a working momma and creative writer. “Just because I’m choosing right now to write this novel, to work my job and then blog—that doesn’t mean that’s where it’s going to stay.” Indeed, Sarah is headed down the path of truly chasing and living her passion.
About Sarah Moore
Sarah Moore is the blogger behind The Marlett Manuscript, an Ohio-based blog intended to highlight her love for non-toxic beauty and inspiration. Sarah is a full-time high school English teacher and military spouse with one 2-year-old daughter, Emilia—who is her “miracle baby”. After years of infertility, Sarah and husband became pregnant after IVF treatment and were even given low probability of a successful pregnancy. She uses her blog to document her journey as a mom and provide tips and things to make life easier as a working/career mom. You can find Sarah on Instagram @themarlettmanuscript and the blog at www.themarlettmanuscript.com
What are YOU passionate about? Share some thoughts in the comments below!
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COMING SOON: A Musing Momma- The Podcast
Give the newest podcast episode a listen and SUBSCRIBE today! Click on the picture to listen.
It’s a little after 4:30 on a Wednesday morning, and while the rest of us are sleeping comfortably in our beds, she is heading into a lake to swim and train for the next few hours. Never mind the fact that she just overcame a panic attack minutes before her first few swim strokes. She is focused and committed to preparing her body and mind for the biggest and most intense athletic competition she has ever done.
It’s been a year since she started training and completed her first half Ironman triathlon, and now Breann Meyer has begun round two of her training as she journeys toward completing a full Ironman competition.
You might be curious to find out just HOW and WHY she stays committed…. Spoiler alert: It’s her passion.
How would you define passion?
Passion clearly is the driving force behind Breann’s motivation for what she does when she trains for and completes the Ironman competitions. Breann describes passion as something that “energizes everything in your being.” When training for the Ironman half triathlon, Breann discovered that passion is a requirement for the sport. There are mental and physical challenges that one cannot get through without that clear passion.
“[Passion is] something in you that just makes you have that much love, that much feeling, that much drive and force inside of you….that it just makes you continue on doing what you’re doing.”
At what point did you realize that you were passionate for the sport?
Breann originally thought to herself, “I could never do that.” Having run a few smaller marathons here and there, Breann never really had her sights set on the official Ironman Triathlon. However, one day a work friend challenged her with the possibility of doing the competition. “I threw out all excuses when Jake approached me and I said, I’ve never done a triathlon, I don’t have a bike….” But the undiscovered passion deep inside Breann gave her the courage to take action.
It was October 2017 when Breann completed her first half Ironman triathlon, and the possibility of a full Ironman triathlon became even more of a reality. “When I woke up there after the half, and I was just laying there- like “I’m not sore at all…and if I just do this on my training and change this on my training…I’m gonna make it through the full…I’m gonna do even better and I’ll be able to finish the full”
She goes on to say “…after you’ve been through it, it gives you that passion to get out there and do it…if you felt the way you felt and you want to beat this time—that give you the passion to go out and push even harder, and train even harder, and run more miles and don’t give up and just keep going…”
Of course, there were some challenges that got in the way of Breann pursuing her passion. For instance, not being a morning person and having to wake up between 4:30 and 5 in the morning to train when the rest of the world was still sleeping. Additionally, having a family and balancing it all out. Breann attributes a lot of her success to the support of her husband, Matt, who helped take care of their 6-year-old daughter while Breann was away to train.
Then, there were the mental and physical challenges. “Having mental and physical breakdowns and trying to recoup from that to overcome it and push forward, and knowing that you can do it and go out there the next day to do your swim…[was a huge challenge].”
During the training process for the half, Breann suffered from knee problems that made it even more difficult to push through. She spent time in physical therapy and had to have her knee wrapped in order to compete in the competition.
It’s no secret that there were also mental challenges that Breann had to overcome. A fear of the lake was one of them.
“It’s crazy because your body can handle more than what your mind thinks you can…your mind goes against you constantly…”
An anxiety over swimming in the lake posed a problem for Breann while training, and she had to face her fears as she succumbed to panic attacks and mental breakdowns while preparing for the Ironman competition. So, while Breann was training her body physically for the triathlon, she was also training her MIND to ignore the doubt and anxiety that came with certain aspects of the competition.
“I had to get past my excuses [and challenges] for why I can’t do it…once I got past that, I was like—I can do this….I WANT to do this!”
“I went from ‘I will never do this again—no way—not a chance—this is not happening’—to waking up the next day, and being like, ‘I’m doing a full…I want to do this, I can do this’…and that’s just the passion in that”
Breann’s biggest support is her family and specifically her husband. Additionally, Breann surrounded herself around a support system of friends and peers who were on the same journey as her—training for the Ironman competition. “Going into something you’re not comfortable with, something you don’t know anything about…having the support of Jake to help me—how to change a tire if I get a flat and show me that, ‘cause I would have no idea…but having that support made it that much easier to help me out.”
She also found support in her family and friends during the competition when things got physically and mentally tough for her. “When you run past friends and family…it pushes you… but that just helps you because your mind is over it…your body is over it. But, when they cheer you on, it’s 5 seconds…but those 5 seconds means the world and it makes you feel like ‘alright, If I make it through the next 6 miles, I’ll get to see them again,’ you know…and that pushes you even more…that was a big support.”
Why do you compete in Ironman competitions?
At first response, Breann’s answer was “for myself, accomplishment, to challenge myself.” However, when reflecting on WHY she really does it, her answer landed on her daughter Maddie. “..You know you want to be a role model, right? So, whether it be school that you finish…this is also something big [that I’m doing] for her to see…she sees my dedication and sees my hard work and then she sees me finish…and she can see an outcome to all of that.”
Breann said it best—
“Your body can handle more than what your mind thinks you can.”
Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and winning the battle over your inner voice’s negativity and doubt. It takes drive, intention and passion to really go after your dreams…whatever they are. When it comes to getting started in a physical feat like a triathlon, Breann has figured it out. Your body is stronger than you think…ask Breann.
About Breann Meyer
Breann Meyer is a Phoenix-born and raised working momma in the Banking corporate world. She has a 6-year-old daughter, Maddie with her husband and reside in northwest Phoenix. She is an avid photographer who loves being creative and expressive during any down time. During her downtime and when not training, Breann spends time with family, taking Maddie to her extracurricular activities and being an awesome friend! You can follow her on Instagram @bresimjourney or her YouTube channel HERE.
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One day in the near future, I will stand in my truth and proclaim that “I am worthy. I am enough.” The road to that day will be paved with challenges, triumphs, self-realizations and truths that I have to be willing to acknowledge and embrace. It’s going to take courage and belief in myself that I am doing what is best for me. I have to trust myself and trust the process, because Lord knows there will be challenges.
How can I expect to give my daughter the best of me if I myself am not whole? It’s a question that I was afraid to ask myself for the first 4 years of my daughter’s life.
Somewhere deep inside of my soul, was a longing to resolve anything that might stand in the way of giving my daughter 100% all of me.
The thing is, I had no idea what those unresolved matters were…but they were there. Like a shell’s hard layer, the unresolved issues were just one layer below.
They were there every time I refused to look myself in the mirror and love the woman I had become. Curves on my body that weren’t always there, wrinkles that would appear out of nowhere and a smile that I had a hard time accepting. It was there when I had second guesses about my own happiness and worth in my marriage with her father. It was there when I would cry myself to sleep in the middle of the night because I felt alone and dark. And it was also there when I would feel panic about my daughter finding out the ugly truth of my past…Those unresolved issues where there all along, but I was unwilling to accept them.
Instead, I spent the first 4 years of my daughter’s life ignoring the unresolved issues in my life. Blissfully unaware of the pain and ugliness that lived inside my soul.
Until the moment I realized that I was broken.
It was the night I crawled into bed with my daughter after an argument with my husband. I was upset. For so long, I thought the unhappiness came from my husband’s inability to show me appreciation. But, laying in the bed with my daughter and crying to her—I realized that it wasn’t my husband’s inability—rather MY own inability to love myself. Because, here I was crying on my four-year-old daughter’s shoulder—seeing the look of concern and worry in her little eyes while she was trying to console ME. I was broken. My daughter could see it…and that night—I could see it.
That was the night that I began the ascent into my awakening. My journey to finding out what was bothering ME. And why was I so upset and angry. I took pen to paper and began writing….
I started with my story. From the very beginning… and unleashed years of regret, anger, hurt, and pain that I had been ignoring since my early childhood.
It was empowering to recognize the feeling and emotions that I had not named before. I dove into hours of books, podcasts and genuine conversations to help me begin to become whole again. To fix those broken parts of me that were angry and upset all the time…
Since that night, I keep talking about my discovery of truths and emotional healing. When I was able to face my past and have the courage to question why I was hurt—a rush of relief washed over me.
I’m willing to bet we all have things that we need to heal from. Past hurts, heartbreaks and experiences that we try to hide from the outside world.
However, the moment you step into your truth and face your deepest soul aches is ultimately what will set you free and enable you to heal…thus, becoming whole.
Until then, I will keep writing…and soul searching…and learning from my past mistakes. And looking forward to the day where I can say and believe with all my heart that “I am enough.”
What does becoming WHOLE mean to YOU? Share some thoughts in the comments below. If you enjoyed this post, please share with a friend to help spread this message.