The One Thing We All Need

“To love someone is to learn the song in their heart and sing it to them when they have forgotten.” — Arne Garborg

A few mornings a week I wake up early, and while the rest of my family is cozy in bed, I join a dear mama friend to run around our neighborhood.

Here’s the thing. I’m not a runner. At least that’s what I’ve told myself for more than twenty years.

Running is hard for me. Really, really hard. And if it wasn’t for my patient, encouraging, take-no-excuses friend waiting for me by her mailbox every morning and running with me, I would still be telling myself the story that I’m not a runner. And my actions (or lack of action) would validate that.

But with her support, I am doing it. Consistently. And now I’m very close to running a 5K without stopping. (No laughing. That has been a big, impossible goal for me.)

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still hard. Really, really hard. But the story I’m telling myself now is very different.

I am going for it. I can do hard things. I actually kind of like it. I’m running!

Here’s the key: I have support.

I have someone who believes in me, even when I don’t believe in myself. Who encourages me to keep running. Someone who is waiting for me to show up. Someone who reminds me of why I’m doing it.

We All Need Support

Five years ago, at a New Year’s goal-setting workshop, the idea that I needed support smacked me upside the head.

Maybe it’s because I grew up as an only child, but I’ve always thought of myself as independent, able to get things done on my own. I rarely asked for help. I was embarrassed to receive it. I didn’t want to put anyone out.

Yet, as I did the workshop exercise and reflected on my accomplishments over the past year, every one of them happened because I had the support of someone else – my husband, my Crossfit coach, my mom, my coworkers, on and on.

It was with this realization still reverberating, that I met my soon-to-be life coach in the lunch line at the workshop and decided I wanted her support as I navigated some big, scary decisions about my career.

I didn’t have to do it alone.

We Aren’t Made to Do Life Alone

Your beautiful dream needs someone believing in you.

That big, scary decision needs someone who says, “you got this.”

Every mile or rep or lap needs someone cheering you on.

You need someone to remind you of that song in your heart when you forget it.

So I ask you. Do you have the support you need? Who is on your team? Are you asking for help? And are you open to receiving it?

Saying you need support is not a weakness. In fact, it’s one of the bravest (and smartest!) things you can do.

But here’s an even bigger question.

Who Are You Supporting?

What are you doing to support the dreams of the people most important to you? Do you even know what they are?

Are you able to put aside your own fears, your own agenda and deeply listen to what they need? And then give it to them?

When we help people see themselves and what they are capable of in a new way, we help them shift their perspective and create new beliefs about themselves.

Dr. John Gottman says honoring your partner’s dreams is one thing you can start doing right now to improve your relationship. He shares this funny story of a man who heard this advice for the first time.

 

How Can I Support You?

Now here I am, a life and relationship success coach, because people believed in me and supported me.

I went from feeling stuck, burnt out and overwhelmed, to doing the most fulfilling work I can imagine. All because five years ago I got brave and asked for help.

Now I get to be that support for others.

I help people who are ready to step out of their fear and their negative stories about what is possible and go after what they truly want out of life. I get to coach women and men who want to show up as their best selves so they can, in turn, support their partners and their families.

Inspired by the Arne Garborg quote at the top of the page and based on my personal experience I’ve developed my coaching philosophy…

I help you see what’s possible for yourself and remind you of it when you forget.

I believe in you. I whole-heartedly, unconditionally believe in you.

If you are open and ready for that kind of support so you can make your big goals real (even if it’s just to start getting clear on what those goals are!) schedule a complimentary discovery call and we can explore the possibilities.

Hey, if I can become a runner anything is possible!

TAKE ACTION

Ask someone you love about their big dream. Then think about what you can begin doing now to show your support.

What’s an impossible dream you’re working on? How will you get the support you need to make it happen?

Share with us in the comments.

xo, Allison

Be In Awe Of Yourself

“In your light I learn how to love.” — Rumi

My baby turns 9 years old today.

When he stands next to me and holds my hand (he still does that!) his head comes up to my shoulder. His gangly legs never stop moving and he usually sports a huge smile, unselfconsciously showing off that awkward mixture of big, baby and missing teeth.

He’s an exuberant soul who makes friends wherever he goes, is brave in unfamiliar situations and doesn’t sweat the small stuff. All things his mama here still has to work on and so admires in him.

I’m just in awe of how my sweet, pudgy baby has grown into a full-on boy and I look forward to seeing who he becomes!

But he isn’t the only one who has grown over these nine years. I’ve been doing my fair share as well.

I like to say that becoming a parent cracks you wide open. I’m not even exactly sure what I mean by that, but that’s how it feels to me.

I guess it’s losing the facade of having it all together, of being in control.

It’s the paradox of feeling heart-exploding love and overwhelming frustration, sometimes at the same time.

It’s going deep to notice the wounds you’ve been hiding and then doing the work to heal them — or at least trying to — so that you can show up for your family.

It’s finding the compassion for your little one, for your partner and most importantly for yourself. And doing it again and again and again.

My little teacher turns nine on Friday and he continues to hold my hand and guide me through the beautiful messiness of motherhood. I look forward to seeing who I become!

I encourage you to marvel at your growth, just as often as you gaze in awe and love at your child. How is parenthood shaping you? What lessons are you (still) learning? What is easy now that once seemed impossible? Who are you becoming?

Take a moment and write your answers down, it’s powerful to see this on paper. Share them in the comments if you would like.

Now pat yourself on the back or give yourself a squeeze. You’re doing great. Keep on shining your light!

10 Ways Busy Parents Can Reconnect, Right Now

“Many people think the secret to reconnecting with their partner is a candlelit dinner or a by-the-sea vacation. The real secret is to turn toward each other in little ways every day.” — Dr. John Gottman

I once heard a marriage counselor being interviewed and he talked about walking in the door after work, seeing his family and thinking, “You’re the reason I come home.”

I LOVE that perspective and totally admit it’s a bit idealized.

I mean, c’mon — in the midst of the most difficult days of having a newborn (and sometimes beyond that!) home can be the last place that feels welcoming.

Melting-down baby.
So-over-it mom.
Why-is-everyone-yelling-at-me-I-just-got-home? partner.

On a particularly hairy evening during my first maternity leave, my husband actually told me sometimes he wished he could just stay at work. Ouch! That did not go over well.

After I was over being angry, I saw his point of view. Where was the connection? Where was the joy?

A sweet lingering kiss.
A long hug.
An uninterrupted conversation. Heck, a “hello, glad you’re home” would do.

It’s these small things that you do on the regular that bring you back to each other. That reminds you why you like each other. That says to your partner “you matter to me.” That you take for granted before kids.

For new parents, even the simplest moments of reconnection can seem daunting.

Which is why I’ve pulled together some of my favorite ways to connect that don’t take a ton of effort but make you look forward to coming home.

1. Prepare them

A check-in text helps your partner know what they are coming home to — good or bad — so they can prepare themselves instead of feeling blindsided. They may even get a moment of self-care in during their commute — deep breathing, good music, small snack — to help them shift from work mode to family time.

Emojis or gifs are a great way to do this, they get the point across with a touch of humor and lightness.

2. Hug it out

Get eye to eye, heart to heart, belly to belly and hug long enough for your breathing to sync up and for you to melt into each other. Feel the tension release from your body as you lean into your partner.

While hugging, you’re actually reducing your stress hormones (cortisol) and increasing your love hormone (oxytocin).

What about the baby? Put him in a safe place, a mat on the floor, a bouncy chair, the crib. Give that good hug and tune out the world for a moment. You’re coming back to your team, to your special someone.

After your deep hug, you can always do a big group hug with the family!

3. Walk and talk

Put baby in a stroller and go for an evening walk after dinner. It’s a new parent date night! And the perfect time for a daily stress-reducing conversation or you could hold hands and just enjoy the quiet together.

4. Set boundaries and expectations

My husband usually comes home around 6 and that’s right at the peak point in dinner prep when all the pots are boiling and everyone’s hangry. It was right at that moment that he’d come in for a hug. I’d try to avoid it by ignoring him or mean mommy would flare up. Either way, I’d feel so guilty.

When I realized the dynamic that was going on, I changed it by being clear: that moment is not a good time to connect with me. I’m too frazzled.

He got it. So now when he comes home he doesn’t take it personally that I’m busy and instead plays with the kids or starts setting the table. When things are settled in the kitchen, I can be the one to turn to him and say, “I’m ready for my hug now.” (See tip #2.) That way we both get what we need.

5. Start a conversation

Get the free Gottman Card Decks app and give the Love Maps or Open-Ended Questions a try when you’re having dinner and your sleep-deprived brain can’t think of anything to talk about or when you’re on a date and want to talk about something other than baby.

6. Kiss like you mean it

Six seconds, twice a day, is all it takes! Do it in the morning when you say your good-byes and in the evening when you return to each other.

Dr. Gottman calls a six-second kiss “a kiss with promise.” It’s long enough to feel romantic but not too long to make the kids late for soccer practice.

7. Put on some mood music

Play your favorite feel-good music and dance around the house while you go about your evening. A little shimmy with your sweetie makes loading the dishwasher go a lot faster.

If you need to tone it down for baby’s bedtime routine, some slow jams can help quiet things down and maybe set the mood for later. *wink wink*

8. Unplug together

Feeling disconnected? Reach for your husband or wife instead of reaching for your phone. If you have a difficult time unplugging, agree to phone-free times or spaces, like certain evenings or not during dinner or not in bed.

9. Try a virtual connection

Let your partner know you’re thinking of them with a text. If you’re at home with the baby and they’re at work, send a video or picture of a new or funny or everyday thing baby is doing to help them feel part of the action.

10. Play together

Spend some time (it doesn’t have to be long) playing with baby together. On busy weeknights, you can make it part of the evening routine — play during bath time, sit together with baby and read a bedtime book, or sing lullabies together. It can be really special to share that time with your partner and the kids LOVE having both of you there!

Gottman’s research has shown that happy couples play cooperatively with baby instead of competing for baby’s attention. Here’s a video of actual research footage from the Gottman Institute.

The ways you connect with each other may look a little different after having a baby. But these small gestures and meaningful moments can make a big difference to your relationship and how you feel about each other.

Even in the messiness of day-to-day life as new parents, your partner and your family will be the reason you are happy to be home.

Now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear ways you’ve figured out to regularly connect with your partner as busy parents. Please share them in the comments. We all could use a little inspiration in this area!


Want to amp up your connection even more? Sign up for a Bringing Baby Home workshop. This weekend workshop is like a mini-retreat where you will explore ways to create a relationship and family life you love. Join me!