Do You Practice Having Fun?

I wish I could put on Rosen goggles sometimes.

It’s such a shame as we get older how we see so much less winded in he world. The magic is never gone, we just forget how to notice it.

I’ve been doing some digging lately- and the idea of joy keeps coming back to me. Followed by the ideas of fun, laughter, dance, play and creativity. All of these things bring joy into your life- but we deem them to be much less important than so many other tasks in our day to day.

The major issue is, the most meaningful part of our lives are the connections we have with the other people in our lives. And while we’re all so busy focusing on the “important stuff” we’re forgetting to take into consideration that the most memorable, heart touching moments we share with those we love can only come when we make the space for the fun, laughter, dance, play and creativity. You are literally starving yourself and the ones you love of these incredible moments for connection by ignoring these things.

But the thing is… if we’re not used to being care free in the way children are- we might freeze up even if we do get the opportunity to play or to dance. Today I was thinking about how much I used to dance and how now when I try I feel stuff and awkward.

And I think we feel stiff and awkward when it comes to all of these things because they require practice. The word practice keeps coming up for me lately. Yoga practice, mediation practice etc. It’s not like you do them because you’re already good at them- you have a practice evause you are doing literally that, practicing. The same way you would with a musical instrument or a sport. You have to PRACTICE play, practice laughter, practice dance- by putting them into PRACTICE!!

Lol now I know I’m putting a lot of stress on that word. But the only way to practice something is to make the space and time for it.

Have you ever tried to fake laugh and it ends up making you laugh for real?? Try it. It’s a really good way to get yourself going.

If you have nothing to do for a moment, stop looking around for a task to complete. Put on some music and start doing a stupid dance. Again, it might make you feel really dumb at first, but as you start moving you’re going to loosen up and start feeling the groove.

Creativity is also not something that only some of us are gifted with- it’s something we have to cultivate in the exact same way. Those of who rn corporate creativity into our days are the ones who amplify it within ourselves.

I’ve been watching RuPaul’s Drag Race lately and I’ve been in awe of the creativity those Queens put into their entire performance. I thought back to yesterday when I pulled together a random Halloween costume out of a bin of things and suddenly became a Chuck Cavewoman with a pink wig and with glamorous shimmering pink eyelids, and I was amazed at how much fun it was.

Now what if we didn’t wait for Halloween for the excuse to let our creative juices flow? What if we practiced dance, laughter, play, fun and creativity daily? Even if it were just for five minutes?

I don’t know about you- but I’m feeling lighter just thinking about it.

Wouldn’t it be nice to get a little bit of our kid goggles back?

Comment below with the last time you felt carefree and had fun like the good old days 😁

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Boundaries Are a Bitch

There are certain concepts in the self-help world that do my head in. Concepts that seem like they should be really straight forward and easy to understand. You read the definitions and you think ok, yeah, I got it. Then you read it again just to make sure and you’re like hmmmm something just isn’t quite clicking for me right now- and you move on.

That’s been my experience with boundaries. It just seems to be a very fluid concept and there isn’t really a concrete formula for how you go about implementing strong, healthy boundaries. I need formulas, I need concrete.

I also realize that I am not good at boundaries. I’m at one extreme or the other.

I either am completely wide open, I give too much, I expect too much and then I get weird and resentful when I don’t get what I think I should in return. I feel used and taken advantage of. Or I am the complete opposite, I’m cold, I shut down, I wall off.  Nope, I’m done, you’re dead to me.

I’ve told myself for years, since I worked with a therapist one on one before I had my son, that I wanted to work on setting healthy boundaries in my relationship with my mother.  I was talking to her at that point. Things weren’t perfect by any means, but we were both working on trying to recreate some semblance of a mother-daughter relationship. At the time, I just didn’t understand how to set those boundaries or how to keep them.

Although this definitely spills over into all of my relationships, I’ll continue referring to the relationship with my mom because it’s the origin of all these issues and I guess it might give some insight into how the whole thing began.

My mom had a terrible relationship with her mother, AND father. They were both alcoholics, abusive etc. etc. She moved out at 15, tried to shove all the shit under the rug, played Ms. Perfect and then it all came back to bite her in the ass after she had my younger brother and her mother passed away two weeks before she gave birth. Ever since then, she’s been on a downward spiral, a bit of a rollercoaster, but ultimately downward.

So- as a young child my mom would say all kinds of really messed up stuff to me.  She would tell me I was her best friend, but then she would also tell me things like: “you’re just like my mother, you don’t know how to love and you don’t have the capacity to love and if you keep up like that you’re going to end up alone forever.” Not her exact words, but you get the picture.

She was also addicted to all sorts of different things and was either super high functioning perfectionist (clean freak), or passed out on the couch not functioning at all.

There would be moments when I’d feel like she was a mother, and I’d get vulnerable with her and tell her things. Things about my feelings or worries or things I’d done.  Without fail she ALWAYS. Every. Single. Time. would find a way to use those against me at some point down the line.

This is what happened the most recent time we had a blow out, and we now are no longer communicating.

It’s been really weighing on me heavily lately because I know her health is very fragile.  I keep asking myself if it would be ok with me to continue not communicating and have her pass away.

Here’s the issue-I’m between a rock and a hard place, but I know it’s my problem.

I am not willing to be sucked back into the black whole of her existence.  It’s just not an option, especially not since I am a mother myself now. I will not allow my son to be exposed to that kind of toxicity. I will not allow her to form a relationship with him just to hurt him or say really messed up things to him somewhere down the line.

My husband is also not on board.  He has been so gracious for the last ten years, giving her every opportunity and encouraging me to do whatever I needed to do to repair the relationship.  But the thing is, she goes after him when she comes after me because she knows thats where she can get to me.  She knows I’m immune to her criticizing me so she says terrible things about my husband. And he’s had enough. I respect that.

Now I’m in a place where I can choose to get in contact with her at any moment and she’ll receive it with open arms. However, I’m not going in without boundaries and I’m nervous AF.

She’s the type of person that goes rabid animal on you if she feels threatened or backed into a corner.  She will go for the jugular.  Even if you think she’s calm, you think she’s hearing your feelings and taking them all in during the initial conversation, it’s gonna come out eventually.  She can’t self soothe, she can’t handle hurt, she can’t think beyond herself.

So I’m frozen, and I don’t have a ton of time.

I’ve got this loose concept of what boundaries are. They are things you’re ok with and not ok with and you’ve gotta find a way to communicate that to another person in a loving way without sounding like a total bitch. I’m thinking about making a list…like really just hashing it all out on paper and then sending her an email.

I know I need to ask myself: what makes me feel safe in this relationship, what makes me feel like I am guarding my value and how can I stay in my integrity…

I’m also hoping that if I can get this shit down with her, that it will help me immensely in all of my other relationships going forward.

Man, mommy-issues are a bitch.

Signed,
Mama Milli
Xx

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Things You “Should” Do Everyday: The Deceivingly Simple Trick For Lightening Up on Yourself

For a long time now, I’ve been obsessed with personal improvement. I’ve been a personal trainer, a nutritionist and a self-help book junkie. What I’ve noticed over the years of striving to become a healthier, happier person, is how often professionals will recommend that you do [insert habit here] everyday. You should drink 2.5 L of water everyday, you should take xyz vitamin/supplement everyday, you should meditate everyday, you should exercise everyday, you should eat 9 servings of vegetables everyday, you should write in a gratitude journal everyday, you should walk 10,000 steps everyday, you should floss everyday, overwhelmed yet?

Last year, I read a book about success. It was essentially about living by a set of principles that can help guide your life rather than trying to make decisions in each individual situation based on emotion or whatever else might be influencing you at that time in your life. The one part of that book that had the biggest impact on me was the simple statement that you can spend your day in one of two ways: one is doing things that move you towards a goal, and the other is doing things that don’t move you towards a goal.

At first glance that might seem like a shit ton of pressure. Wow, I can either do the right or the wrong thing with my day. Great. I better be super focused and productive 100% of the time then right? No.

Thats not what I took away from it anyway. The way I see it is as a simple guidepost for whether on not something you’re focusing your time on is actually worth the time your spending on it. I also see all the little things that you give your attention to as drops in a bucket that can add up significantly over time.

For example, if you want to get into better shape, a ten minute walk is better than no walk at all. Every bit always counts.

One other statement that has impacted me greatly over the last year was a quote I heard, and I think it was by Oprah… It said “you can have everything, just not all at once.”

So how does all of this loop back around and determine what you should do everyday?

Well, I think it means that if you zoom out and look at the bigger picture, you can see that life will always naturally ebb and flow. You can accept that you can’t always expect to be able to uphold the exact same routines everyday; especially at a time in your life when your day is at the mercy of a baby or a small child. Ultimately, you can take a bit of pressure off of yourself because a time will come where you’ll have more time to focus on other things.

I believe, that as long as you are asking yourself if the things you ARE spending time on do move you somehow closer to a goal, then you can be assured that you are doing an amazing job, everyday.

If that means you spent your day cleaning up poop and not changing out of your pyjamas because you could barely keep your head above the chaos of motherhood? Good. You did something that contributed to your goal of creating a happy family life, because you spent your day doing exactly what your child needed that day.

Some days might not feel “productive” in the conventional sense of the word, but goals are not always career oriented, or fitness oriented, or about how clean your house is or how put together you appear. A lot of goals in your life are actually about how mentally well you are, how present you can be for the people you love or how accepting you can be of the challenges of day to day life.

I recently learned the difference between our deepest desires and our strongest desires. Our strongest desires are the things that pull us in our day to day, like growing an Instagram following, or keeping our house clean. Where as, our deepest desires are the much larger and more meaningful things we want across our life time like having meaningful work, being there for your family or spending more time on your hobbies that fill your cup.

Often times our strongest desires don’t match up very well with our deepest desires, so its great to check yourself once in a while.

Yes its great to eat healthy everyday, to be organized, to look great, to exercise. But the truth about balance is… that doesn’t mean you have to do them all, everyday. In my books, it means things balance out across the months and the years. Its not always about the days, so take a load off, mama and stop shoulding on yourself.

Share one thing you feel like you “should” be doing everyday in the comments to try and give it a bit less power over you!

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Stop Trying So Hard: How Striving to be Something Gets in The Way of Actually Doing Anything of Value

Milli Fox looking at her iPhone

 

Once upon a time I started caring what the world thought of me. I guess we all do.

It happened in stages. First I started striving for good grades and achievements in order to feel enough validation to believe I was worthy of love. In high school I was a ridiculous over-acheiver, but still somehow managed to remain true to my own style & sense of creativity. It wasn’t until I moved to Toronto that the second and fatal stage occurred-I started to lose my sense of self completely.

I used to have this really original sense of style. I loved thrifting and reworking my own clothes. But somehow I started to associate those parts of me with my roots and pieces of my past I was trying to run away from.

I felt super lost for a long time. Then I started trying. I started trying to be the person I thought I wanted to be instead of figuring out how to let the person I am shine through.

I was never one to look at fashion magazines and honestly never really paid a ton of attention to what was on trend or what other people were wearing.  I just kept trying on styles, and ways of being that I thought suited this “refined, put together” woman I wanted to be.

Then, cue Instagram. Boom. A black hole of potential selves to strive to become. Not only aesthetically, but also on a popularity basis.

Was I not as likeable, smart and interesting as all these other women amassing huge followings, curating the perfect wardrobe/home/feed and getting a ton of likes for it??? Of course! So why couldn’t I also have what they have??

And how would I go about getting “what they have”? Well, obviously, by doing as they do!

For the past few years I’ve wasted so. much. energy. Cherry picking bits and pieces from what everyone else around me was doing and trying to emulate it in order to feel a sense of achievement and worthiness. With the misguided thought that if I just kept trying, I would eventually find my own style and it would shine through.

Instagram can really tear into you and wear you down if you let it get inside your head. I don’t hear too many people talking about this- but Instagram is a dangerous drug.

I’ve finally come to the place where I’ve all but given up on the striving. I realize that looking outside will NEVER help me become more of myself. I realize that what I’ve been referring to as inspiration is just a sharade for comparison.

The definition of inspiration is the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative. But there isn’t too much creative about trying to be someone you’re not.

I’ve always been a master at looking like I have my shit together. It’s something I pride myself on. I’m the type of person that doesn’t like when people see me sweat. I don’t like looking like I don’t have things in control, and I sure as hell don’t like to look like I’m floundering or that I’m living in chaos. I’m also super clumsy, goofy, and very neurotic and anxious. Surprised? It’s all super true.

I’ve been so busy striving for appearances, and looking outward- I’ve totally ignored the place where the most grounding and solid sense of self comes from. Inside. DUH. PUKE.

But seriously. The second definition of inspiration is the drawing in of breath. And that’s probably a much better place to go if you want to try to figure out who you really are.

I’ve spent so much time looking for external inspiration that I got overwhelmed with all the options for who I “could be” and messed up all the opportunities I’ve had to just show up.

I thought that when I showed up, it had to be a certain way. It had to be phrased and curated in such a way that it would be irresistible. Perfectly crafted vulnerability. Scripted sharing. The right message, the right time, the right way in the right package.

That’s why I’ve had such a hard time with this blog. It’s never had a proper identity because I’ve always tried to make it something and not just let it be what it is. It’s been a fitness blog, a nutrition blog, a mommy blog, a travel blog and an entrepreneurial blog. I always tried to shove it into a box- and never really fully showed up because I couldn’t stay committed.

I always lost “inspiration” with each of these topics and I think it’s because I was forcing it so hard. I think if I had of just started writing what came to me, when I came to me- from INSIDE OF ME, instead of constantly looking outside of me for the ideas- that I would have already given so so much more value.

So what I’m saying here is pretty simple. If you can’t commit to a niche- don’t. If you need to just start DOING (not planning) something that comes straight from your heart everyday and let it form into what it’s supposed to be on it’s own, in its own time. Do it.

Don’t strive. Don’t try. Just doooooooo.

Nike got it really, really right. Ideas are worthless and striving is exhausting. Doing, from the centre of your self, is the only true way you can bring value to the world. So just put your god damn blinders up and start scribbling till you can recognize what’s on the page. ❤️

With all my love!!,

Mama Milli

If you like anything I’ve said here, come find me on Instagram 

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How to Turn Social Media Followers into Fans

Everyone is super focused on growing their social media accounts these days. We all want to see our follower numbers go up and up and up. But what good is having a ton of followers if they aren’t going to buy anything from you? Once you get someone to follow you, you can’t just start hard selling them and expect it to work. You have to nurture your relationships with them and turn them into fans before expecting them to go for what you’re offering. This is the absolute best practice for growing a business using social media platforms like Instagram.

In the video above I discuss in detail the three things you need to focus on to grow your Instagram account and then to turn your followers into customers.

You 100% need to focus on the know, like, trust factor.

If your followers don’t feel like they really know you and what you stand for, they won’t feel connected to your brand or your products. A lot of purchases are emotionally motivated and we all know we’d rather support someone we know and feel connected to over a stranger, even if their product is better.

Another thing you need to establish is the LIKE factor. It’s not just enough for someone to be familiar with you and what you do, they have to like you too. So how do you get your followers to like you? Authenticity, relatability and passion. People need to feel that you are genuine and can easily sniff out a fraud.  Be true to yourself, and share your story often.  If you are human and you show it, people will feel like they can relate to you. On top of it all, you need to have passion for what you’re doing. People love to get excited about things and feel positive- passion breeds positivity. If you have passion for what you do, you will help lift people’s mood and give them hope. This will inevitably make them like you!

The last factor you need to establish is TRUST. Trust takes time to establish. It will require you to be consistent, predictable and reliable.  You need to show up for your audience, and show up regularly even if you’re having a bad day. Use your struggles to inspire your audience, or even just to show that you’re human too. Be consistent in how often you show up so your audience will know how often you’ll be there. Lastly be predictable. Your audience should know what kind of content to expect from you. If you are posting about a completely new topic everyday, people will get confused and probably end up either not paying attention or worse, unfollowing you.

So there you have it! Focus on establishing the know, like, trust factor and you will inevitably be creating an army of fans who will be ready to jump when you have something awesome to offer them!

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