What your kids really want from you

Think back to your childhood. Was your mom stressed out? Did you seem to somehow miss the mark with her expectations often?


What was the thing you REALLY wanted from your mom? Was it more clothes? Was it for her to be skinnier? Was it for her to do the dishes more or keep the house cleaner? Was it for her to get a better job or to be at home more? Was it for her to go to the pto meetings? Was it for her to have picture perfect farmhouse decor?


No. I bet we all wanted the same thing for our moms: for her to be happy. We just wanted to see her smile and laugh. Her smile and her laugh could melt almost anything away and swell your heart. You just wanted her to be happy. It meant the world and made you feel so happy yourself.


Now, I want you to think about your kiddos. I want you to think about all the ways you’re stressing out. I want you to think about all the pressure you’re putting on yourself in the name of motherhood.


Then I want you to sink into the fact that your kids just want to be happy. They just want to see you feel carefree and giggle with them. They just want to please you and they desperately wish they could find a way to make you happy.


So give it to them. Today. Be happy. Smile and love and hug and giggle and enjoy them today. Take the pressure and the guilt you’re feeling and cast it off like the heavy garment it is.


Uniform of the Day

Download the Free Uniform of the Day Planner here!

In the military, you’re assigned a uniform of the day. Different jobs or places you’ll work will determine that uniform. The uniform you put on suits the work you will do for the day. Somehow, pajamas and general frumpiness become the uniform of motherhood. It’s so lame. We think it’s easier. And maybe it is. But it also reinforces a lot of the issues we face as moms like depression, lack of self-worth, isolation and boredom. Putting some clothes on, and maybe even some lipstick, reinforces (even if we don’t believe it yet) that we are still us! We are still the person we were before we had those lovely little rascals. Moreover, it reinforces that we are still valuable, that we have important work to do that requires getting dressed. It pulls us out of zombie mode and back into the realm of the living. It is a first step for many into self-care. 

Professor Karen Pine, author of Mind What You Wear: The Psychology of Fashion puts it this way:41

When we put on a piece of clothing we cannot help but adopt some of the characteristics associated with it, even if we are unaware of it.

Pine conducted extensive research to prove her point. What that means for us is how you dress determines the course of your day. Whether that means pajamas and being lazy on the couch or fitness gear and potentially working out, it matters. Whether that means not brushing your hair and not feeling like you matter or popping on some lipstick and feeling pretty, it matters. It’s not just about productivity, friend, it’s also about self-perception. You are what you wear. 

So simple: get dressed. Choose something that makes you feel good, that makes you feel sassy, sexy, confident (insert your desired adjectives). Also, consider stretchy things, because let’s be real: you never know when you need to lunge for a child or a breakable. Nevermind the fact things aren’t quite as, ahem, in place as they used to be. And, throw some lipstick on. Feel fabulous for the day. Everyday. It takes ten minutes, but it’s a total game changer. It’s a small step in the journey of self care.

Check out my free uniform of the day planner here. Everything you’re reading is from my book Put Your Big Girl Panties On. Grab a copy today from Amazon!

Put Your Big Girl Panties On!

At last! I can say that Put Your Big Girl Panties On is published! Hooray!

What’s it all about?

PUT YOUR BIG GIRL PANTIES ON IS A SELF-DO BOOK FOR WOMEN WHO ARE READY TO BE THEIR BEST SELVES BUT HAVEN’T QUITE FIGURED OUT HOW YET. Does it seem like adulting as a woman should’ve come with a training manual? Well, now you’ve got one. In this down-to-earth and funny how-to guide, coach Shana will let you know you’re not alone, help you feel understood and give you some practical tips on how to move forward in the areas of life that are holding you back like:

  • Anxiety
  • Negative self-talk
  • Fitness
  • Nutrition
  • Time management
  • Home organization
  • Personal finance
  • Motherhood
  • Marriage
  • and much more!

Put Your Big Girl Panties on will give you applicable questions, exercises, and advice from someone just like you. It will feel like a conversation at a coffee shop, filled with knowing glances and giggles. It will give you a safe space to feel the things you’re feeling while also coaching you ever closer to a better version of you. You see, one thing is absolutely 100% true. No one else is going to come along and magically save you. You are the hero of your own story. You are the one that is going to make your best life possible. You are going to show up for yourself, you are going to solve your own problems. And you’re going to feel really confident and satisfied when you do. You’re going to save yourself. Let’s go.

Put your big girl panties on

What your kids really want

Happy Father’s Day everyone. I want to share a really powerful story my coach told me recently. I’ve been sharing it with my friends recently and it’s all hit them pretty hard, so I know it’s ready for you.

I want you to think about how much you want for your kids. You want them to be happy. You want them to be successful. You want them to avoid pain. You want to give them opportunities. You want to make sure they feel loved and you want to make sure they are safe.

You want a lot for them, don’t you?

Now, let’s consider what all that wanting for them means. It probably means you’re busy, you’re stressed and you’re anxious trying to do for them. You’re probably weighing mom guilt and feeling stretched thin trying to do for them.

But what do your kids really want? More than all you’re doing “for them?”

Your kids just want YOU to be happy.

Yes, they see you sad, distracted, anxious. They just want their mommy to be happy. They probably try so hard to do things to make you happy, don’t they?

Yes, your kids just want you to be happy. They just desperately want to see you happy, laughing and carefree more than anything else.

All of this toil we go through and the one thing they really want is for you to be happy. Then they can really be happy.

What’s more, then they have a model to follow. If they don’t learn from you how to be happy, they won’t know either.

So, I want you to stop and think about that today as we celebrate Fathers. (Sorry Dads) How can you as a parenting team model happiness but also give your kids the peace that they can only get from having parents that are happy.

Pause & Applause

I am a big fan of discipline. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s one of my top 4-5 core values. I BELIEVE in discipline.

That being said, I have a slightly different take on it that I apply in my life both as a person who needs self-discipline and a parent.

Annoyingly positive discipline.

That’s how I like my discipline. Annoyingly positive.

With that in mind, today we invented a game in our home. It’s called Pause & Applause.

I asked my 10-year-old son to load the dishwasher. He did. What happened next floored me.

He put away some of the clean dishes that were on our drying mat.

Without being told.


I’ve been working on him doing things he sees need to be done without being asked. I’ve been working on him doing things he’s supposed to do without being asked. And he has definitely shown improvement. But, in a burst of inspiration, I decided we’d make this one a big deal.

Once he sat down to eat breakfast with all of us I told everyone to stop! Then I asked everyone to applaud Zach for what he’d done. I explained that I was so happy he’d done something that needed doing without being asked. I explained that it really helps me and helps the house to stay nice.

Zach has two sisters. Can you guess what happened next? Yep, they both immediately began doing things without being told. Haha.

At one point Zach had everyone stop and applaud me for cleaning my 4-year-old’s new shirt that was stained with berries. I told him, moms do what needs to be done without asking all the time. I also told him thanks. Curiously, I realized it did feel nice to be recognized. I say curiously because duh. My first response was to shrug it off. But, that’s not what I want to model is it? Why not have kids that show appreciation for the automatic things?

A takeaway is that this works for adults as well. It would be wise I imagine to not do it in such an obnoxious manner. Is there a time today you can pause and (verbally) applaud someone in your office or home for doing something awesome?

We will continue this game. Positivity and encouragement are contagious. Furthermore, the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon tells us that as we start looking for these pause & applause moments we will actually notice them more. The more good you focus on, the more good you’ll have to focus on. We are also reinforcing and rewarding awesome behavior. It’s a cycle of awesome.

Today I challenge you to find at least one, but maybe more, pause & applause moments.

Big Girl Panties Academy


I’ve spent the last year putting together all the tools and tricks of what has worked for me, my clients and my mentors into a book. I also spent last year getting my certification as a Life Coach. The next step is what this post is all about!

This year I’m refining my content and process in a new way that’s open to you. It’s called the Big Girl Panties Academy. Here’s how it will work. 12 months. You & me and other like-minded folks. There will be monthly audio files (so you can listen while driving or folding laundry), a monthly workbook and then ONE group coaching call. Yes, we will all get on together and work through the material together. We’re going to hit a new topic each month and really do the deep work to improving every area of our lives.

So, that goal for 2019 to find balance? To do some personal development? Let’s do that. Let’s do it together. Let’s become better versions of ourselves. Together. It’s one thing to read a book or do something by yourself. It’s a whole ‘nother thing to do it with a group of like-minded folks who are having similar struggles! It’s so important to be heard. It’s so important to feel like you belong. It’s so nice to know you’re not the only crazy person.

Okay, so the idea behind Big Girl Panties is that we all have the power within to make our lives exactly what we want them to be. We don’t have to rely on external sources, we can put our big girl panties on and take charge of life. We can do the hard things.

This year, I’d like to tackle the following topics each month. I know I need CONTINUAL work in all of these areas. I need continual REFLECTION and GROWTH in all of these areas. Personally, I am addicted to self-improvement and especially to those deep conversations they trigger with others who feel the same. However, I know personally reading a book doesn’t always cut it. So, we’ll listen, write and then chat together. Here’s what I’m proposing.

  • January: Life by Design
  • February: Love, Expectations & Marriage
  • March: Home Reset (Declutter & Organize)
  • April: Get Your Mind Right
  • May: 4Es of Love (Embrace, Encourage, Empower, Enjoy)
  • June: Rituals & Self Care
  • July: Every Body has a Challenge (Food, Fitness & Body Image)
  • August: Productivity & Organization
  • September: Home Economics (Finances, Budget, Savings, Goals, Etc)
  • October: Tribe & Relationships
  • November: Mental Health
  • December: Generosity

So, what do you think? Would you be excited to work on these things together? We’re talking about going to the University of YOU! If you’re committed this year to really bettering yourself, this is the moment. Let’s do it together.

I’m not going to overload you with information or with appointments or even host this on social media. I’m going to make this as easy as possible. I’m going to send you 1 email with links for the audio chats to listen to each month along with an accompanying workbook for you to work through. Then we’re going to have one online group coaching session the third week of the month and talk it all through. There is power in community y’all!

If you’re in, sign up below! Pricing will be a really easy to swallow $25 / month. It’s my intention to WAY over deliver on the value of this Academy so that you get way more than $25 worth! Pay here. Fill your info out below and you’ll receive an email from me!

Let’s do this. Together.


10 Interactive Elf on the Shelf ideas

I’ll take a break from my regularly scheduled coaching posts to throw these out there. We started the Elf on the Shelf five years ago without really knowing what we were getting into. These days though, we realize the kids look forward to seeing what shenanigans the elf is up to almost as much as they look forward to Santa. We like to build the character and story of the Elf, to make him come alive a bit for the kids. Here are 10 of the 30ish things we’ll do this year. We also have a spreadsheet with all the days and what we’ll probably do. That way, when it’s 10:30pm and we facepalm because we forgot the elf–we have a plan for that!

1. Hide the candy canes.


This one is fast and easy and the kids have fun doing it, especially since they get a sweet treat out of it. I get the jolly rancher candy canes because otherwise it’s just no fun! I usually make my own sign but here’s a free printable!

You could also have him suggest they have Candy Cane nose races!



2. Decorate the cheese sticks or bananas.


This is an easy one, but it’s special when it’s from the elf! If the kids have already packed their lunches, this makes it even more fun if they see it once they’re at school. The elf can personalize it too!





3. Shoe matching game.


My kids love matching games! This kind of incorporates matching AND hide and seek depending on how sneaky you get! You can set one pair up as a train like ___ and then hide the matching shoes!





4. Elf makes breakfast.

We have two December birthdays in our house, so the elf always makes a special breakfast for them on those days. But you don’t need birthdays to make breakfast! =D

5. Elfies.

This is so fun! My kids have mini ipads so last year the elf took a selfie with them while they were sleeping. It adds to the mystery of the elf and gives them a personalized keepsake. If no ipads, consider taking elfies with your phone and then having them printed and the elf holding them the next morning with a sign, “While you were sleeping.” He could even do funny things to them or around them for the camera!

6. Elf in a balloon.

I think we could be friends blog.

This one is brand new to me and I know my kids will love it. They’ll have fun finding him, technically they won’t be touching him and then they get to play with balloons, which they LOVE! Bonus would be if the balloons are color coded so the kids can each have their own. (#sigh).





7. Mustaches.

My kids have come to expect this one. And they even love going to school with their mustaches and telling their friends about it. This year maybe I’ll take it up a notch and add whiskers or something!

8. ROAK.


Have the elf help your family doll out a little holiday cheer with Random Acts of Kindness! Over here you can print out some ideas for free or you can make them yourself!





9. Yarn surprise! 


My girls LOVE LOL Surprise Dolls. This is a small take on that. You can put anything in the middle like candy, a toy or money even!






10. Make cookies for Santa.

This one is self explanatory. When the kids wake up on Christmas Eve, the Elf has cookie making materials ready for them to make Santa’s snack! (PS: He also leaves them PJs for a present).

BONUS: Printable Activity

This is such a great idea from Pretty My Party! Print it out and have the Elf give it to the kiddos for an easy one! =D

Screen Shot 2018-12-04 at 4.18.06 PM

Sunday planning: How + Worksheet

Happy Sunday! I hope you’re having a great day! On Sunday’s, I like to do alllll the planning for the week while I’m calm, relaxed and happy.

Before I sit down with my hubby for our marriage meeting, I get my own things in line. Want to take a peek at my plan? Maybe it will inspire your plan?

Schedule for the week:

  • 5am Wake, Bible, Pray, Journal
  • 6 – 6:30 Breakfast with hubby
  • 6:30 – 7:30 Breakfast / Kid prep / Clean house
  • 7:30 – 8:30 Coffee & relaxing time
  • 8:30 – 9:30 Kid bus / preschool drop off
  • 9:30 – 11 Workout / Shower
  • 11 – 12 Work
  • 12 – 1 Preschool pick up / errands
  • 1 – 4 Work
  • 4 – 4:30 Bus / Folders
  • 4:30 – 5 Dinner prep / House reset
  • 5 – 6 Family dinner / dishes

My schedule varies week to week quite often. And my evenings are always different based on clients / classes but I like to have a good base. This is what I call “mom blocking.” When I have the basics blocked like when I will get quiet time, workouts, housework, kiddo time and my work done then I can breathe and relax and get excited for the week!

When I’m doing my schedule, I also set the priorities for the week.

  • This week I have to get my vision board workshops completely planned out and I need to file business stuff at the county court.
  • I also need to get December’s budget completed.
  • I need to get my girl’s birthday party planned.

Whew! So, I’ve got those things scheduled in on my planner so they’ll actually GET DONE.

Food for the week:

This week’s food is brought to you by leftover turkey and end of the month creativity.

  • Monday everyone will eat turkey sandwiches for lunch and I’ll have a shake. For dinner, I’ll have zoodles and they’ll have turkey & dumplings.
  • Tuesday they will have leftover dumplings for lunch and I’ll have a shake. For dinner, I’ll make chicken fried (cauliflower) rice.
  • Wednesday I’ll have a shake and they’ll have leftover dumplings for lunch. For dinner, I’ll make salmon & spinach.
  • Thursday they’ll turkey cranberry salad and I’ll have a shake. Then we’ll all have leftover chicken fried rice for dinner (it’s a busy night).
  • Finally, Friday will bring wraps for lunch and pizza for dinner!

Workouts for the week:

Another thing I plan is my workouts. You may be following a program but I’m just following my heart. Right now that heart says:

  • Monday / Legs: 5k + 4 rounds of 25 squats, 25 squat jumps, 25 walking lunges, 25 lunge jumps, 25 deadlifts, 25 skater jumps + 21 Day Fix abs.
  • Tuesday / Arms: 5k + 10 inchworms + 3 Supersets + 21 day fix Abs.  3 rounds each superset, 20 reps each move. SS1: Plank push-ups & Curls. SS2: Side planks & Skullcrushers. SS3: Pike pushups & Curl to press.
  • Wednesday / Full body: 5K + PIYO.
  • Thursday / Chest, Back & Booty: 5k + 10 inchworms + 4 tabatas.  T1: Chest Press w/ Leg Raise & Snow Angels. T2: Superman w/ band & Push-ups w/ chest bump. T3: Pullovers in bridge & Banded bridge w/ butterfly. T4: Fire hydrant R & FH L w/ hold.
  • Friday / Full body: 5K + Ladder workout. 100 squats, 90 lunges, 70 Everests, 50 Pushups, 30 Triceps dips, 10 burpees, 30 Triceps dips, 50 Pushups, 70 Everests, 90 Lunges, 100 squats.

I want to give you a free tool to help you plan to have a FABULOUSLY FIT week! It’s my Sunday Planning sheet that focuses on your fitness journey.

Get the printable Sunday Planner here!

Join me!

How about you? I hope this post just inspires you to plan your own week. If not, just copy mine as best you can! =D

Fill out the form below if you’re interested in:

  • Vision board workshop. I will have one vision board class in person and one online.
  • Online health & fitness groups.
  • 1 on 1 coaching to help you achieve your goals!
  • You can also check out my How To Have An Awesome Marriage Meeting course for $5!



Brag tag

I have a fun, secret game for you and your family to play tomorrow when you’re at Thanksgiving. It’s called brag tag.

Here’s how it works. You start by bragging on someone in your family.

“John makes the best turkey.”

Tag, John is it! It’s his turn to brag on someone else.

“Jane got excellent grades this semester and her teacher gave her a raving review.”

Tag! Jane is it! Now, it’s Jane’s turn.

You get the point. You get the game, right? But why?

Well, let’s not get too deep into the drama that can surround family get togethers or the annoyed vibes that inlaws can create.

Instead, let’s focus on the idea that this game will build goodwill between your family. It will keep the focus positive and fun. It will affirm (do any of your family members speak Words of Affirmation as a love language?) them, IN FRONT of others. It will make everyone feel good and happy.

So, I challenge you and your family to a game of brag tag! Let me know how it goes! =D

Going solo

This weekend I checked myself into rehab. Not that kind of rehab. No, I checked myself into a hotel room where I’d spend the next 48 hours alone if I chose. I’d spend time quiet, contemplative. Mostly, I’d spend time doing what I want.

I’ve got a line in my book that says:

Moms fantasize about being admitted to the hospital just so they can get some downtime.

Oh, it’s true. I’ve heard it from too many women for it not to be. And it doesn’t even have to be moms necessarily. In today’s age, we’re all overstimulated, never alone. One thing moms might have a little less of is the (perceived) freedom to do what they want.

You see, self care is simply the act of taking care of yourself. And many times that just means doing what you want to do. Self care doesn’t have to be a massage or a bubble bath. It’s just doing something you want to do. Not doing what everyone else wants to do. Not doing what has to be done.

That’s a lost art in modern motherhood. In fact, I’ve longed dreamed about starting a retreat that I’d advertise with the concept:

Rehab before you need rehab.

I felt myself in a funk. It’s been a high stress year with our move and also with our pending retirement. I’m working on accepting that those things are stressful while also managing my thoughts so it doesn’t get out of control. Big life changes are tough. But I’m tougher. Right? Wrong, at least at this point. So, off to the hotel I went.

This looks like a place anyone could spend some quality alone time, doesn’t it?

When I checked in, I just sat there and stared at the beautiful, clean and quiet room. Yes. This will do nicely.

My friend asked me what I was going to do while I was in Raleigh. Yes, we both love traveling and exploring. This time though, solitude is what the doctor ordered. Stillness. I actually had the vision of a teenage style slumber party with myself. I read books, I watched tv shows, I took long showers, I journaled and I slept in. It was glorious.

My shower didn’t have a full door. Not sure why. But it didn’t. 

It’s probably not a coincidence that I’d been reading (and now have finished) Lead Yourself First which is a book about solitude for leaders. Being a mom, I read most things from that perspective. And, I always steal John Maxwell’s quote:

Everything rises and falls on mom’s leadership.

Moms set the tone for the home, they do so much and have so many things required of them. The book spent a lot of time recounting military tales of leaderships and solitude with some business and even a mom or two story sprinkled in. The business and military world recognize the need for solitude for their leaders. The book explains how solitude generates clarity, spawns creativity, restores emotional balance, and in it we find the moral courage necessary to overcome adversity and criticism (Hat tip: WSJ). 

What about in the home? If you’re a mom (or if you know one, ask them) tell me when the last time you were alone was? When was the last time you took the time to reflect and restore “emotional balance?”

In the book, they mention how leaders become overwhelmed by a tangled mass of goals, obstacles, inputs and interruptions. If that isn’t a perfect description of the challenges of motherhood, I don’t know what is. Due to that overwhelm, moms become burned out, anxious, depressed, they over eat, they over drink, they over Netflix and they over Facebook. It’s an epidemic. Modern motherhood is pure crazy.

Is it so interesting to think about what you’d do with a day or a few hours to yourself? I know many moms would say they’d go grocery shopping by themselves. #facepalm. I’m talking about time with no responsibilities, no requirements. Imagine doing that, then imagine how it would make you feel. How would you show up in the world after some time like that? 

If solitude is good enough for our military and business leaders, it’s good enough for moms. Equally valuable and necessary.

Though I’ve been a leader in former careers, jobs and as an entrepreneur, I still read these quotes with the eyes of a mom:
“A leader takes on larger forces (toddlers? after school activities?) than himself. When a leader has clarity and conviction about how to deal with those forces, he feels himself a match for them.”
“An effective leader is the person who can maintain their balance and reflect, when a lot of people around them are reacting.” (yelling & hurrying versus guiding and margin?)
“The point is that every leader has her emotional limits, and there is no shame in exceeding them. What distinguishes effective leaders from inferior ones, rather, is their ability to restore their emotional balance.” (Limits are real & okay, to be effective you need to restore balance. How do you do that? When?)


So there you have it, my argument that you need to go solo. Your turn, answer the prompts in your journal or in the comments:

  • How can you find solitude?
  • How often can take time for yourself?
  • Do you believe it’s necessary?
  • Do you believe you deserve that?
  • How do you think a few hours or a day solo would change your current attitude / state of being?
  • How would you return after time solo?