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Confidence – Why we doubt

Confidence isn’t gained overnight. It’s not simply telling things to yourself until you believe it. You have to break through the doubts that you have and get to the root of why. I am sharing the things in my past that I doubted about myself and had to really work through. On top of that, I asked you all at @hackingtheworkingmom on Instagram what you doubt about yourself. Disclaimer: I am just a human with her own experience and not an expert. Anything below is just my thoughts.

As I wrote this article, I realized: At the root of it all, who do you want to be? How do you take baby steps to get there? Confidence is being comfortable in your own skin.

Let’s dive in and talk about how to do the work.

My doubts in the past:

  1. I’m not pretty enough
    I don’t know if there is a person on the planet that hasn’t struggled with if they are pretty or handsome enough. Writing this actually still begins to make me tear up, so maybe there is a little more for me to work through here or maybe I empathize with those that struggle knowing how it feels. Our culture tells us what pretty is. It tells us what we should wear. How we should do our makeup. What clothes are trending. Until you realize that beauty isn’t truly defined by what our marketing companies would like us to believe, this will continue to hold you back. You don’t need to buy a damn thing and the quotes about beauty coming from the inside are true. I
    My only advice here is to dig into your past. What has made you feel less than enough in how you look? What have you allowed to be the metrics for looking good? Why aren’t you pretty? Is your nose too wide? Are your thighs too “thick” for a gap?
    These aren’t things that don’t make you beautiful. As I worked through thinking that my nose was too wide, thigh gaps can’t be a real thing, my hair was too thin, and my fingers are fat, I began to look at the people I love. If they told me those things about them, I would tell them that isn’t true. That they are stunning just how they are. I compared myself to those around me and wanted to look like them instead of being comfortable in my own skin.
    Why can’t we love ourselves the way that we love those closest to us?
    The work: Whether someone in your past has constantly put you down or you simply are you own worst critic, notice your beauty and say it out loud to remind yourself daily. I have a gentle spirit. I see the best in people. I want to be happy. I want to be strong. I want to be healthy. Even as I try to compile my own list, I switch to “want”. Those are goals, but not what makes me beautiful. This shit is hard!
    Let’s try this again:
    I am kind. I want to help those around me. I believe people are doing the best they can. I am a good mom. I am smart and capable of many hard things. I have a bright smile.
    Quit focusing on your hair or body and figure out the rest first.
  2. People will figure out that I don’t know what I am doing and I care about how I am perceived.
    NEWS FLASH: No one knows what they are doing!!!!!
    Oh sure. Some people have more expertise but we are all figuring out life and rolling with the punches. One of the most freeing things that I have done is be super honest online about the things I don’t have together.
    Expectations are everything. This resets the expectations that I have around how others see me. It allows people around me to see me for who I really am. This is scary. I get it. But, man, is it freeing. It matters how we are perceived but it shouldn’t drive my actions.
    The work: Ask yourself why you care about how you are perceived? (There is a balance. The alternative is a f*ck the world attitude and that’s a mode of protection vs connection.)
  3. People won’t understand.
    Over the last five years as I have navigated marital issues and then separated from my husband (all while we figured out raising a kid), I was terrified that people wouldn’t understand. That people would judge and not just me but my kid. I can’t write this without being on the verge of ugly crying. BUT! The more I have talked with people, the more I realize that I am not alone. Life is messy and complicated and if I can’t find the joy in it, I am missing out on moments that I can’t get back.
    Surround yourself with kind people. With people that want to see the world succeed not just stack up their own pile of gold and shut the world out.
    The work: Starting talking to one person that you can confide in. This might be a professional therapist, regardless of the complexity of your issue. Don’t keep it all it. Start talking. It’s the best way to process things.

Whew! Now that I have exposed my biggest huddles to find confidence, here are the responses to “How do you doubt yourself that you wish you didn’t?”:

  1. “I doubt that I am good at anything: daughter, friend, spouse, human being”
    It’s a natural response to end up in a state of full self doubt. It can be because you are hard on yourself or others have been hard on you and often for long periods of time.
    The work: Take it one step at a time. What are the tangible ways that you feel you aren’t a good “_____”? Fill in the blank with the role that is most important to you. Are their tangible things around that you need to work on or is there no truth behind it? We aren’t perfect. Sometimes becoming the confident person we want to be requires putting goals in front of us that encourage us to grow.
    If the root of your doubt just straight up isn’t true, you need to flip the script. Acknowledge if things are true. This isn’t a one and done. This is something you have to choose daily and fight for you!
  2. “Literally everything. I think it was expectations I was raised to meet that put a lot of pressure causing doubt”
    Expectations are everything. The expectations while we are growing up shape us heavily. I was the kid that thought everything had to be perfect. I had to make straight As. Not because anyone else imposed it on me, but that was my own bar that I set.
    The work: Spend time outlining (write it out!) what is most important to you. What do you really need to have perfection on or is there anything? What do you gain from perfection? How do you grow into who you want to be?
  3. “The ability to get my business to a place where I can provide solely for me and my family”
    This is such a healthy goal! But it’s also one that often gets doubted because it’s been a struggle in the past. This is as much about setting goals and reasonable expectations as the rest.
    The work: Write down dream goals. $300 by end of the year a month. If you aren’t sure how to hit that, find a mentor. What are you passionate about? What do you love to do? How can you make money doing that? What works within your life?
  4. “At work. I doubt my skills & that I deserve the job that I have right now”
    This one is hard. Does anyone else feel like when things are going well, you wait for the hammer to drop? You may be excelling at your job based on feedback from coworkers and still feel this way. I have been there. For me, the root issue was that I didn’t feel comfortable being successful!!!
    The work: Look at the tangibles and find the root. Are there spots in work that you have struggled? Are you uncomfortable feeling successful? Why?
  5. “Almost any major decision I ever made. Especially when large amounts of money are involved”
    Money is hard. We have to have it to function. As you think about large purchases, ask yourself:
    1. Why am I anxious about this?
    2. Does the value of this item justify the cost?
    3. Is there something else I would rather spend this money on or save it for?
    4. Will I care about this in XXX amount of time? (this time should be longer the more the $$$ goes up)
    The work: When I asked this person if they have ever regretted the decision, it was beautiful to hear no. They didn’t have regrets. Always look at your historical data points. They tell the true story more clearly than how you feel.
  6. “Appearance and likeability”
    I feel this and it’s why it was my first point above and I pretty much wrote a book 🙂
    The work: Learn to be comfortable in your own skin and that you aren’t everyone’s “cup of tea”. Thank goodness. That person would be really boring.

At the end of the day, you are the only person that is stuck with you. Everyone else can chose to walk away. You remain. Do the work to live in peace with yourself.

Weight loss – How to lose it and keep it off

I have to start by saying… You are enough. You don’t have to hit a number on the scale to be worthy. But if you are tired of being exhausted and never feeling like you have enough energy, you are in the right place.

Set realistic goals

You aren’t going to go from lifting 3 lb weights to 15 lb weights overnight. Where would the fun in that be, anyway? But you can go from 3 lb to 5 lb to 8 lb.

Pick goals that are driven by your end goal. “I want to have more energy”. Your goal should be, “I can walk up the stairs without feeling out of breath” instead of “I need to lose 20 pounds”.

Nutrition

You cannot be a healthier version of yourself if you don’t evaluate the food that you put in your body. This where where the math comes in (and don’t worry, it’s simple!)

The number of calories that you eat has to be less than you burn to lose weight. Download myfitnesspal on your phone or use the website and track what you eat in a day.

How do I know how many calories I burn?

The best way is to get a fitbit or apple watch. These are going to show you how many calories you burn at the end of the day in your activities. We burn the most calories just by moving around and being active in small ways throughout the day. If you work out on top of it, that’s extra calories that you burn.

Simple math: Calories eaten – Calories burned = calorie deficit

When your calorie deficit adds up to 1,000 calories, that’s equal to 1 pound of weight loss.

Do not deprive yourself

This does not mean eat cookie dough for dinner, though I have been guilty of it before and I am sure will again. Pick your treats or splurges. Build them into the calorie deficit. By eating nutritionally rich foods instead of goldfish, you are going to have more calories to play with. Get a small scoop of ice cream. Even better if you pick an ice cream that has lower calories.

If you don’t focus on one health switch at a time, you will binge eat and “fall off the wagon”. Just get back on and reset.

Keep it simple

If you love to cook and have the time, go for gourmet meals! Reality is… most of us are doing good to survive the day and put something on the table for dinner and throw our kids in bed and then take deep breaths.

Cook simply. Throw a package of chicken breasts in the crockpot with a tbs of olive oil and top with 1/2 tsp of salt. Cook it on low for 6 hours and it will shred easily with a fork. Throw that on plates with your favorite sauce (try to keep it low sugar) and sides of veggies! There are nights those veggies are roasted in my house and nights that it’s raw bell peppers and carrots. THAT’S A GOOD DINNER!!!!

Movement

You have so many options in movement. Find the one that you love most.

When I first started consistently working out, my movement was cardio because the only way that I could get through it was to essentially be yelling at myself in my head. “Come on, Leah, suck it up. You let yourself get to this point. Push through it if you want to see a change!” I am not saying that this was healthy. But it was honest and a way to work out the frustration that I had at myself.

We do not change our mindset by speaking it into existence. Move your body. Change your mind. These words will forever be my moto when I am stressed or angry. If I can move my body, it gives me mental space to shift my mindset.

First steps

Decide how much you think you can really change. There are two options:

  1. Go all in: Plan meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Decide what you movement is going to be. You can email me at hackingtheworkingmom@gmail.com or message me on Instagram (@hackingtheworkingmom) if you want help finding movement!
  2. Pick one thing to change: Your lifestyle might be so fast that the idea of sticking to three meals that are planned a day sounds insane. Pick something simple. “I will plan my eating out and it will only be 3 times a week.” or “I will get grilled chicken instead of fried chicken”.

Comment below on what you are going to do first!

Loft – Up to 40% off + Extra savings

I’m all about deal and it sounds like with the shipping issues that we might hit this year, stores are starting to drop big sales early! Loft is running a huge sale right now that can end up landing you buy two, get one free on things that are already 40% off! I do make a small commission when you use my links that are on each of the images or when you click the Shop Here link! Thank you for supporting me in the time that I spend putting it together!

Here are my favorites:

There are a TON of cute socks to pick from, along with jewelry and some great loungewear that would be small enough to fit in a stocking. You can find all the links here.

I’m obsessed with this coat and already text my mother in law to tell her that I would like to get it for Christmas! The Lou & Gray matching sets are butter soft and I buy them every year. They are so good and there are a ton of color options! If you grab three of the pants, shirts or a mix, it’s like buy two get one free! $40 each times three is $120 and you get $40 off with code FALLFUN. Shop these here.

There were simply other things that I loved! That green dress is perfect for the holiday events and I already had the Lou & Grey henley on the way to wear with my spanx leggings! Shop these here.

The Ultimate Working Mom Hack

I sit here cooling down from a workout and am thinking about my priorities and goals. Goals are simply the tangible actions to work on your priorities. For example, I have a priority to be a good mom – loving, caring, strong, teaching. Within that, I have goals. I will spend focused time with my son in the morning with my phone out of reach.

Before you can start setting your goals in life, you have to know your priorities. I’m not talking about your stretch goals here – buying a house, going on vacation. I am talking about your daily goals and things that you need to do to make life function. It is okay to have to have goals in order to make life function.

Let’s take a step back. In case you don’t follow along on Instagram, I’m Leah and there are a few ways that I define myself. I hold a full time job in the consulting industry as a director for a company that implements an ERP software for businesses. It’s a high stress job but I love it. I am a mom and it’s the best! I am a daughter and moved back to my home town to have family help. I am the sole parent that lives in my house – I still wrestle with the term “single mom” because I am so supported, but I guess it applies.

Now, let’s zoom back in. My challenge to you is to write down your priorities for TODAY! Not long term. Look at just today. Sometimes the long term can be overwhelming when we are just trying to succeed today. I find that mine don’t really change from day to day. They are the things that I need to have energy and set a mindset of joy.

Here’s my priorities and then the goals to the right:

  1. Breathe – Express gratitude in that breathe and remember that I am thankful to get today. I will do this by moving my body with a work out and stopping when stressed to take a few breaths. I have a massage today too!!! (beyond excited about that)
  2. Figure out what I am doing to fuel my body – I am starting a new thing today that I am excited about and will share when I see what I think first. I will make good choices in the food that I consume to fuel my body and care for myself.
  3. Spend time with my kid – I was listening to the podcast YouAF this morning and Katerina noted that your build your internal story by the age of seven! SEVEN!!!!! I am shaping the way my child talks to himself daily and I needed that reminder that these are critical years (he is five). I will spend 20 minutes of uninterrupted time with him this morning.
  4. Creating mental space – I will clear my kitchen counters at the end of the day to create mental space. This is not guilting myself into a clean house but is a way that I can create mental space before bed.
  5. Have fun! – I will look for little ways that the world is beautiful. I will point that out to my son and ask him what he sees in the world that is beautiful today.

I have meetings for work every moment that I am at my computer today. I have piles of shit in my house that need to be cleaned up. I have laundry that is overflowing to the third bin. I have soccer practice to coach tonight and then still need to have some form of food for dinner. And there isn’t another parent to share that mental load with me in this house (my son’s dad is awesome. He just lives in another state).

Today is a blessing. And not because you have to think so. It is a blessing because the world is shaped by the people in it. Remember to be kind. Remember to love. Open up your mindset and heart to create joy! You don’t find joy. It’s made.

Ann Taylor Labor Day Loft Clearance

I love Ann Taylor Loft! They have things that work for everyday or work and then a killer Lou & Grey loungewear line!

There is 70% off sale items right now. This is the time that I buy the most from Loft! I can’t share it again later when I wear it because I snagged it on such a good deal and it’s no longer available. If you see something you love, grab it! Let’s focus on how to wear these things into fall!

There is a direct link highlighted in the information describing the item or you can click the picture to shop! Use code YIPPEE for the 70% off.

Under $10

This top is perfect to pair with jean and a boot for a fall look! I love the red and as a Bama fan, this works as a game day top for me! With the 70% off, it comes in at $9!

Gingham Smocked Peplum Tank Top
$9 Peplum tank

You cannot beat a $4.50 tank top in an autumn color!! This is a great color to pair with browns or deep blues!

Ribbed Racerback Tank

Bodysuits are a great way to run after your kids without worrying about your shirt coming lose! They also help great smooth lines without extra material gathering. The olive color is a perfect fit for fall! Just pair with a shacket! $7.50 bodysuit can be found here.

Ribbed Halter Bodysuit

These cozy shorts have a fit that you could wear out in public but make great lounge wear! I personally own these and love them! You can’t beat the $9 price tag. They also come in a full length pant for $18.

Pull On Shorts in Ponte

Under $15

These slippers will let your toes breath but still give you some warmth with the lining for just over $10!

Faux Fur Lined Buckle Indoor & Outdoor Slippers

Under $30

This is going to feel like a “splurge” with this sale! This jumpsuit retails at $100 but is $27 after the current sale with code YIPPEE. Pair it with a cardigan or a leather jacket for an outfit that’s easy to dress up in fall!

LOFT Beach Floral Strappy V-Neck Jumpsuit

Kid’s Chores & Organization

As a working mom, or really as a mom at all, none of us know what we are doing and we struggle to find the time to figure it out. At the end of the day, I would rather binge watch “Virgin River” then put together a chore chart and figure out if I should be giving my kid a cash allowance or teaching him how bank cards work. Why don’t they give us a manual for parenting??

I was taught growing up how to manage my money from a very young age. My parents gave us the money that they had budgeted for clothing and haircare and fast food in envelopes for us monthly to understand what it meant to have a budget. It was the money they were spending anyway and they were transferring the responsibility to us.

I wanted something for planning that I could glance at and that my son (at five years old) didn’t have to read a lot to understand what he needed to do. I also wanted it to be in a spot that I saw on the regular and was a hub for organizing that portion of my life.

In comes a 1Thrive organization board. I saw it on Instagram and reached out to them to share it with you guys! The cool thing about what they offer is it’s customizable and holds different options so that it fits your family well. I went with the Brooke organizer and I have been floored by the ease of putting it together and the quality of the material! The boards work exclusively with the markers from 1Thrive and they go on easily but can be removed with a wet rag in seconds.

I found magnets on Etsy that I could customize to the tasks that would be placed on the board. The summer heat messed with the first shipment and the etsy shop owner had a fixed set out to me the same day that I contacted her. I love the simplicity and neutral look of the magnets!

Deciding what type of allowance to do for your kids is tough. There are some things that I decided are tasks that we simply do because we are a family. He brushes his teeth, feeds the dog, clears the table, and cleans his room without monetary value for each of them. However, we are a team and at the end of the week if he has consistently done those things and been part of the team, he will get his weekly allowance.

For some things that I might pay other people for if they aren’t done or are skills that I want him to pick up because they will benefit him in life (laundry…), I put a monetary value again the completion of those items. I’m counting down to the day that he can mow the lawn!

At the end of the day, the amount doesn’t matter and it is going to vary per family and as he gets older the things that are “bonus” chores will become things that he does as part of the team. Do what works for you! This is simply what is currently working for me. I reserve the right to adjust as there are always unforeseen circumstances in parenting.

Having things that my son can do to earn money and learn to save that money for the items that the wants allows for two things:

  1. I can budget the money that is spent on toys and “extras”. It’s up to Eli to earn that money and I know what the max is for the month.
  2. It teaches my son to work for a goal. Between birthdays and holidays, I often feel like my son doesn’t know what it means to work for and look forward to something. This accomplishes that.

I’d love to hear what works well for you and your family! Comment here or connect with me on Instgram at @hackingtheworkingmom.

Nordstrom Sale Zella Workout Deals

I love Zella workout items! They hold up and are so comfortable!

There are my top picks. I have the light grey from last years NSale and they are still in pristine condition and cozy soft! I work out in their leggings. I run around town in their leggings. I throw them on for the days that I pretend I am going to work out and then end up not.

In the image, you will see all the color options as well that are available for the items and all at the sale price!

The easiest way to shop all of this is by looking at the @likeToKnow.it app. You can follow me and see what I post across multiple brands and easily “Click to shop”! I get a small commission off what you purchase that allows me to prepare these shopping lists for you!

Zella Leggings

The quality of the leggings is thick and sturdy! The grey ones that have the pockets are my favorite pair to wear around the house due to how soft they are!

I love the bright colors of the orange legging but there are great neutral options with the mauve, brown and black.

Sports bra

The sports bra that is pictured above is flattered as it is a little more like a crop top but still breathable and flattering. This is a great way to work out in just a sports bra but cover more skin if that makes you more comfortable!

Activewear Jacket

I own a jacket similar to the one above and it’s wonderful in the fall with transition weather or on nights that are cooler after a summer day. It is light weight and breathable!

Girlfriend Collective

I haven’t tried this brand before but it’s made of recycled water bottles and I’m going to give it a shot!!

My favorite Nordstrom Sale Items 2021

Shoe Edition

The Nordstrom sale tends to have a lot of hype. If done right, you can land some of the best staple items that you will wear all year long! I tend to snag a few things in particular every year. Here are my favorites for me and my son (five years old).

If you have the Nordstrom credit card, you get to shop the sales earlier! The more you have spent with them, the earlier you can shop! I get to start on July 16th as “Influencer” level (that is purely based on spend and has nothing to do with the number of followers at @hackingtheworkingmom)

In what I share below, I do get a small commission if you purchase after clicking through my links! It’s not a lot but it does help me have the time to be able to put these lists together for you! I hope you find the information helpful!

Kid’s Shoes

I typically grab Nike’s for Eli. I am not even sure why I started grabbing him Nike’s but he loves them and this year they have some really cool colors. Often, you can get a pair of sneakers half off! My kid is going to love the black, red and blue Nike Flex Plus!

Nike Flex Plus Sneakers in black, blue and red

Women’s sneakers

There seems to always be a pair of mute pink sneakers that are the tennis shoe to grab! I love the color because it goes with so much while not just being a standard neutral. I think this pink currently falls into neutral? These always sell out. The elastic instead of laces is a win for me! I am always throwing on my shoes and this makes it a little easier.

I noticed this muted leopard print sneaker was available in a running shoe and am eyeing it as well! I don’t really run, but I feel like chasing a five year old counts.

I am a sucker for a good basic white sneaker. It looks cute with dresses or with shorts and I have been on the look out. Sam Edelman is a solid brand that is support but stylish! There are multiple colors available in this sneaker at 50% off!

I haven’t ever caved to the UGG slippers. I have a friend who raves about them and I think I just might cave this year. It doesn’t hurt that they are 30% off!

I kinda love these shoes. I am not totally sure how I am going to style them yet and don’t care. But sometimes that is the point. I would rather have a few shoes that I love than a bunch that I never wear!

A good over the knee boot is a must in the fall! It’s the perfect shoe with dresses when it’s starting to get cold outside and just carries a little spunk with it.

I purchased these shoes a year or two back in a Nordstrom sale and they are cute with so many outfits! The mushroom is my favorite color since it’s neutral and goes with so much. Grab them here.

If you grab anything, share it on Instagram and tag me! I love to know when you guys love things that I recommend!

Nordstrom Half Anniversary Sale

The Nordstrom sale is often full of great deals! There are some things that are consistently my favorite.

Zella – if you haven’t tried this activewear brand, the quality is great and the sale prices are so good! They have pocketed leggings and great sports bra options along with athleisure jackets and shorts.

Shop here and here!

Typically, my shoes that I wear year round come from Nordstrom sales. You can get great brands and quality at 50% off! I am eyeing the slippers in two colors.

If you need socks or you have a gift that you need to pick up, the accessories at Nordstrom don’t disappoint! Grab a mug for the person who associates with a G, H or D or snag the heated coffee mug with all initial options still currently available. The All Clad pans are 5 star reviewed!

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father’s Day is officially a month away and FOR ONCE I am on my A-game with a gift guide. This stems from the fact that I probably want most of the things that dad’s want for Father’s Day. I’ll take all the tech gifts and coffee warmers.

There are two options in regards to the items that I gathered, but they are all from Amazon and so convenient to send even if the father you are buying for isn’t local!

The serious stuff:

Men aren’t know for their organization skills, typically. This bag is a great way to organize their self care items (because guys need it too) in a high quality bag.

I bought my father in law one of these for Christmas a year or two ago and he has LOVED it! He loved it so much that I ended up buying my own.

This is the perfect item for any desk! But then again… maybe fathers always get to drink warm coffee? 😉

These are easier to size than other shoes and great for wearing around the house or slipping on to run out the door.

The perfect gift for a whiskey lover! Handmade design and classy.

If you are more into the silly stuff for the gifts, here are a few things as well!