Today on today's episode of Chill & Grace, I spend time with Raif and Connie how run the Goodlett Guide, a blog dedicated to their childfree relationships, travel and lifestyle.
“The most common one is ‘You’ll change your mind.’ I don’t get as many of the critiques in terms of ‘You’re selfish’ because its seen as ambitious. It’s permissible for me to focus on my career rather than focus on children which I don’t think is a luxury women get.”
I was drawn to their honesty of this married, childfree couple from London on their childfree life from joining the mile-high club to Raif's decision to get a vasectomy at 25 so that he could take control of his childfree future. Raif is the first male I have had on my podcast and brought such a new element to the conversation and to see the support they had for each other was inspiring. I know so many women out there are not as fortunate to find a partner who supports their decision.
We discussed the double standard men and women face being childfree, life as a childfree couple in London and how even though they run a blog on being childfree there are still those who believe they will have kids.
In today’s episode, I spend time with Drunk Aunt Overseas who runs the IG page by the same name.
“When I say I don’t want kids people hear me say ‘You’re stupid for having kids’and that’s not even remotely what I said. I don’t want kids and that’s it.Somehow people see themselves in my shoes and take full offense to that. It’s a frustrating experience.”
Drunk Aunt Overseas is not just an instagram page ran by an awesome drunk aunt who loves to travel overseas but for over 4,000 followers is a platform of support, inspiration and community for childfree women. I was immediately drawn to her page for its positive messages, humor and capacity to share her joy of being childfree.
By her providing a platform and encouraging conversation so many women and men are able to share their story for often times the first time ever. As a coach this is so important for me to see the childfree have a place to tell their story and see they aren’t alone.
We discussed the importance of supporting the choice of ALL women to have kids or not, our biggest triggers we have when talking to those who question our decision to be childfree and how she is intentional in creating a platform that does not pit us vs. them so that choices can be discussed respectfully.
There’s a common misconception that the holidays are easy breezy for the childfree and while yes there are some perks like no waiting in line for Santa pics or spending 100s of dollars on gifts never played with, this is not always the case. Check out three ways to take charge of your holidays so you can thrive in joy as a childfree woman!
1. Manage Expectations and Obligations
The stress of the holidays often boils down to two things, expectations and obligations. The expectations you set for yourself and the obligations you feel from others. Unrealistic expectations and unspoken obligations leave us feeling stressed and frustrated.
Are you expected to travel every holiday because you don’t have the extra burden of kiddos?
Are you expecting a holiday like the ones on TV or you grew up with but fall short every year?
Are you expected to do more of the work every year since you have “more time” ?
Do a full scan of all the expectations and obligations you are feeling around the holiday. What expectations are unrealistic and no longer serve you? Let them go. Which obligations are you ready to no longer carry? Have that conversation. Make the change.
2. Set Boundaries
Boundaries are the ultimate act of self-care. Setting them for yourself and with others will help you stay charged and in control of the Holidays.
Is it limiting social media so you can stay focused on your joy and not be distracted by others?
Is it setting a financial budget so you enter into 2020 with no holiday debt ?
Is it having the chat with a family member that your child making decision will NOT be up for discussion?
Create the boundary that will serve you best. Honor it.And move on like a boss!
3. Create Traditions
Take the trip.
Treat yourself to a nice dinner.
Spend all day watching Christmas movies, drinking eggnog.
Or do nothing at all!
Whatever it is that lights you up, make it a priority during the holidays. You don’t need kids or the “traditional” family to set meaningful traditions. Make the Holidays YOUR OWN.
And here’s the thing at the end of the day, if the Holidays aren’t a big deal for you CARRY ON! They don’t have to be and that’s okay! You have 365 days to live your life to the fullest so don’t bank a years worth of happiness on one or two days.
As a coach who works with childfree women on stepping boldly into their choice of being childfree it has always been important for me to showcase women doing just that. To show women out there who are either struggling with the decision or have maybe not seen examples of living a childfree like, that it can be done and it can be done WELL.
I can share the stories I hear but what better way to show this than straight from the mouth of childfree boss ladies so I created the podcast Chill &Grace, the lifestyle podcast for childfree women chilling in their truth and gracefully inspiring others to do the same.
My first guests are two best friends, Blair and Whitney.They are business owners who met in in Lubbock, at a time when everyone was having kiddos and they were not living the norm.
I felt like I was a fly on the wall as two best friends shared their joys and struggles of being childfree. I know it can be isolating for so many women out there who make this decision so it was so nice to see two best friends making the same choice and supporting each other through not only this decision but in all the other ways they do.
We talked about the “Must be Nice” guys, being left out of mom meet ups and being okay with that and how they have come to respond to the intrusive questions or rude comments on their choice to not have children.
One of my favorite parts was when one of the ladies mentioned how this was one of the first times she has actually spoken about this as a CHOICE not something that just happened and how empowered she felt by speaking her truth.
In the past 48 hours I have heard two different features on NPR, one on children who have lost their parents to addiction and the other on women who were sexually assaulted in the workplace.
The children wrote letters to addiction, full of anger at the addiction and sadness for their loss.
The women confronted a man who was not their assaulter but had been convicted of an assault. He felt called to help these women.
I was in awe of their courage, their heart and their honesty.Their stories will stick with me for a long time.
One thing that was so clear to me was through being heard, these children and women felt seen for who they were. To lessen the burden of carrying their story and pain, they spoke their truth and were heard. Their pain, while still strong and always a part of their life, felt a little less heavy.
Our stories need to be heard no matter how dirty they may seem. We need to be seen for the rawness of who we are. Until then we cannot be free.
What is it that you need to speak out into the Universe so that you can feel free? Coaching can help. It allows you to be heard in a safe and non-judgmental place. It helps you hold a mirror to yourself to see where your growth can be while at the same time helps you create the you that you’ve always wanted to be. I will be eternally grateful for the progress I have made through coaching and will be forever changed.
I received this message on chat after last night’s webinar, Three paralyzing thoughts professional have that hold them back from making decision if children is right for them. If I had a dollar for every time I heard this, “I wish I had you when I was younger,” I would have a lot of dollars.
How often do we go through life making big decisions without support ?
Without a neutral party to voice all our fears, doubts and insecurities to?
Without someone pushing us to really think through what it is we want?
Without someone holding us accountable ?
Without someone cheering us on, reminding us we are normal in our struggles but also special enough to ask for what we want and go after it ?
The GOOD news is we don’t have to go at it alone. There is so much support out there for whatever you are struggling with. We just have to seek it out and ask. It may be a therapist. It may be a coach. It may be a friend. It may even be a journal or self-help book.
I have used ALL of these for support and I am so much better for it.
Strong-willed. Driven. Opinionated.
These words have been descriptors of me through my whole life (along with funny and good hair 😊).
I stand strong in what I believe, trust my gut and instincts and am confident in the decisions I make for my life.
I never dreamed of having kids or envisioned children in my future. I remember being younger and telling my mom that and asking if something was wrong with me. I dreamt of travel and excitement and freedom.
A part of me thought it would change as I got older, met a partner and “settled” down but that never came. I would see children and think oh they are cute but never a draw to have my own. I would have terrible dreams of having children. To be honest the thought of having children felt debilitating and suffocating.
But still I left the option open and then one day it hit me.I have been intentional with my life and its focus throughout my entire adult life. When I want something, I make it happen. From going to a major university out of state to living in NYC to traveling the world to successful careers indifferent industries.
Why now would I not trust what I want for my life? It had served me so well and given me so many incredible experiences and people in my life. Why was this different?
Because even though I knew what I wanted, everything around me showed a different future. From friends to media to social norms. And then all the “What ifs” full of fear and regret.
Ya’ll this is no joke.
It’s a personal and multi-faceted decision and while I was almost always certain this is not what I wanted for my life, I know many women don’t feel the same way and are feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed by this decision.
If this sounds like you please schedule a complimentary session today on my site and let's get to work!
Grace is a word I use in almost every session. I have found as high-performing humans we are good at extending grace to others but struggle with showing it to ourselves. Our expectations are high and tolerance for not achieving is low.
The other day I was sitting at my desk, mind racing,thinking of all the things I wanted to get done and focus on and it boiled down to two categories; work and health. I paused and added Grace to the list.
Every day I set goals for both work and health. There are days I don’t get all my To Dos done for my business. Show myself Grace. There are some days I eat more chips and salsa than I should or skip a workout. Show myself Grace. Even on days I feel like I don’t make progress in either. Show myself Grace.
On a good day accomplishing all three is perfection. On a not so good day you can at least accomplish one by showing yourself Grace and coming back stronger in the next moment. Sitting around and beating yourself up and cutting yourself no slack serves no one. To ruminate on what you could or should have done wastes your precious time and holds you back from moving forward.
Show yourself Grace. Give yourself a moment. Move on stronger.
Not the F word because well sometimes it just needs to be said.
I am talking about the words that creep into our daily vocabulary, edge into your psyche and bring down your energy and power. These little words that are unassuming, shifting our mindset without us even knowing it.
These everyday verbs give power to guilt, shame and resentment, making us feel like we are victims to our circumstances. What would it look like if we changed those little word from a feeling of responsibility and resignation to a voice of choice?
“I choose to save this money because it’s important to me to build up my savings account.”
“I should put money in my savings instead of going on that trip.”
“It’s important to me to be honest and effective at work so I need to have that conversation with my coworker.”
“I need to have that difficult conversation with my coworker about their performance.”
“I want to be healthy in mind and body so I choose to go to the gym today.”
“I have to go to the gym today.”
“My intent with my partner is to be patient, supportive and kind.”
“I’ll try to be a more patient, supportive and kind partner.”
My personal favorite is “I get to.” “I get to pay my bills because I have a job.” “I get to push myself hard at the gym because I have a healthy body.” “I get to have a packed calendar because I have a lot of special people in my life.” It feels a little more of an honor and less of a grind. And it's a simple shift.
I challenge you to take a day and look at how often you use these words. Words have power. Take the power back in small ways and notice the big shift.
Let’s talk about FEAR.
Fear is sneaky.
It comes up at just the right moment, when you are feeling strong, confident and ready to do something big.
Fear, masked under the pretense of caring about your best interest, mutters:
“Are you sure you can do this?”,
“You’re not experienced/educated/talented enough to.”
“There’s no way you can start a family/quit your job/follow your heart”.
Fear creeps in a little at a time and before you know it, has made itself at home in your mind and heart with a blanket, warm cup of coffee, binging on Netflix.
Why do we welcome this rude little self-serving house guest? Fear may be detrimental to our dreams but at least we know what to expect. We believe it keeps us safe and free from disappointment and embarrassment but really it just handcuffs us from living our life.
How do you welcome fear and self-doubt into your life ?
Is it constant comparison to others online? LOG OUT.
Is it a friend, spouse, coworker family member whose words make you self-doubt/question your dreams. IGNORE THEM.
Or is it you ? Self-sabotaging, making excuses, ignoring what you know you need to do. STOP IT.
The actions that move us further along in our journey requires nothing more than stopping the things that are holding us back.
So let’s turn up the heat, clear out the fridge and kick fear and self-doubt out of our home.
This may seem a little counterintuitive coming from a coach but what you do is not important to me. It makes no difference to me what it is you want to do with this one wonderful life. As a coach what is deeply important to me is who you want to be and what you are doing every day to get there.
Whatever your goal is I would bet that’s not the end game for you. You may want to be in better shape, have more money in savings, leave a relationship or transition to a new role but I bet those are not the true goals. Maybe what you are really striving for is being:
As high performers with big goals and dreams, it’s perfectly normal to focus on doing and achieving, often losing sight of “Is this really who I want to be?”
Aligning who you want to be with the goals you have set for your life coupled with intention and daily focus behind those are what dreams are made of.
And those dreams are what I do care about.