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Saying NO to stress by reveling in the messy art of MAKING

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Parenting is beautiful ... and messy!

Sometimes my husband will come home from being away on a business trip and look around with awe at the explosion of blocks, puzzle pieces, macaroni and cheese, crayons and milk that has made its way onto the floor courtesy of our 3 children.

After absorbing the scene he says to me while shaking his head, "what happened?"

I reply, matter of factly, "we lived. And we made stuff."

Motherhood is all about reveling in the art of MAKING.

Making messes

Making art

Making love

Making cookies

Making memories

Making pancakes

Making space

Making noise

Making music

Making peace

Making plans

Making forts

Making family

Making up

Making magic

I LOVE making with my kids!

Makers gonna make.

But there are times when the messes, crumbs, piles of dishes, piles of laundry, and the beautiful chaos of parenting can get a bit out of control. And an organized recovering Type A mom like me starts slipping down into that no-win thought of "I'll never get it all done."

I know my warning signals when the dreaded overwhelm is waiting for me around the bend: shortness of breath, inability to stay present, eating crappy food, not taking care of myself, and getting snippy with my husband and kids.

Does this ever happen to you?

Here's what helps keep the joy flowing and the stress at bay. I hope you find this helpful!

Family Mantra Art: All around our house, we have mantras on pieces of art that help keep me inspired, calm and full of faith. I can't tell you how crucial this is to my daily living as a mom!

Mantras like "Make it so" (that's on the giant piece of art you see in the picture below. We also have my family's hand prints on that painting!), "Keep calm and carry on," "Look around, we have this," "You are so lucky," and "Press here for a great day," fill our world with positivity and perspective. I want my children to be able to see the bright side of life and these mantras help us! Words carry energy and I encourage you to be mindful of the words you allow into your family's space. It matters!


When I was pregnant with my third child, we did a super beautiful ritual at my baby blessing ceremony where all of guests wrote mantras and messages to my unborn child on pretty cut-outs that I then glued onto a painting that now hangs in my daughter's room. Those messages bring me as much joy as I hope they bring my daughter once she's old enough to read!


Food as Fuel: Recently my family discovered the power of green smoothies and a Vitamix! This has changed our lives. My husband and I have so much more energy and totally look forward to drinking our veggies and fruits every morning. My kids love smoothies too (although they don't like the "green" ones quite as much as the pure fruit ones, but that's okay by me!). Their smoothie mustaches crack me up!

Eating REAL foods from the earth is a family value and our new smoothie habit is helping us accomplish this everyday. Try it!


Get Quiet and Go Inward: Try starting your day with quiet moments of solitude (even if these moments are in your bathroom!). I keep a few meditation and affirmation books in my bathroom that I read every morning, ALONE! In those pages I find wisdom and strength to carry me through my darkest moments. Parenting is noisy, but I find that coming to a place of silence allows me to listen to my wise Inner Voice and trust that all is going to be okay even if it doesn't seem like it right at that moment. In silence, we allow the truth to be heard.

Calendar Requests Rule: Managing calendars for my husband and myself and our three children can be tricky! So Steven and I have made it a habit to send each other digital calendar requests if we need each other to watch the kids due to a work or personal commitment. We don't just assume the other person is available or will remember if we verbally tell each other our schedule. We simply have so much in our brains that we need the calendars to keep us organized. This is a life-saver!

Divide and Conquer: In our family, it's all about knowing what jobs we do best and doing them. My husband is an AMAZING lunch maker so he's on school lunch duty every morning. I'm better at dinner (and getting better now that I just discovered meal planning!) so I head that up most nights. I'm also great at organizing school details so that's all on me. Steven is awesome with booking haircuts and teaching our kids to ski. You get the drift. Embrace your strengths and you'll teach your kids to find theirs too!

Simply Observe: Everyday take a moment to stop talking and doing and parenting and just watch your child playing, exploring, being. It's really quite fascinating to see the way they move through the world. Oh, to have the eyes of child! Cardboard boxes become tunnels. Snow becomes mountains. Sheets and couch cushions become the coolest forts in the world. Days become giant adventures filled with hugs, kisses, tears, frustration and love. Buckets of love.


Parenthood = a playground for makers.

What will you make today?

Jenny Fenig is a mom, wife, coach and author of “Get Gutsy.”

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