Andrea Levoff Dope Ass Mom

I can’t believe 2018 is coming to an end. This year has been a rollercoaster ride for me but jam-packed with so much learning, growth, and FUN.  This year, I made a promise to myself that I’m not waiting until January 2019 to get my new goals and intentions started. The last 3 months of the year can be very powerful. I’ve found that goals are so much easier to tackle when they are concise and specific and they have a big WHY attached to them, meaning there is a compelling reason to achieve them. While I do have a lot of things I want to accomplish, I chose three bigger goals that will actually kick start and lay a good foundation for the bigger things I want to achieve. Here is my list in hopes that it might inspire one for yourself:

1. Social Media Free Weekends  

There’s something about this season where everything is speeding up that makes me want to slow down. What can I say, I’ve always been rebellious like that. Social media is complicated for me. It’s part of my business for one and I also really enjoy the connections and friendships it brings. It can also leave me feeling drained and keeps me from being present with the ones I love. This month I’m starting with one social free media weekend once a month. I’m starting with once a month because that feels doable, but I’m also open that growing into social media free weekends period. I’m excited to see what I accomplish, whether it be tasks or just closer relationships with the ones that matter the most to me. I will keep you updated!

Andrea Levoff Goals

 

2. Take back my time

This season can be so busy with events and social commitments outside the home. I really want to make sure when I do go out and leave my kids with a sitter that’s it’s serving me in some way. Whether it be for my business or true connections with friends, I know I need to check in with myself and ask those important questions. As much as I love people, I need my alone time and feel fully recharged when I spend time alone or with small groups. I’ve found myself slipping into my old habits of over committing lately and it’s no longer working for me. I know I can be a better person to everyone that needs me when I am taking care of myself.

3. Healthy Mind and Body 

When I meditate my life is easier. It’s that simple. I go through stages of this quiet time for myself and my plan of action is to get back into it as we close out the year. I can’t think of a better ( or more needed) season to start.  I am starting with 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the afternoon.  If you are interested in making a meditation practice for yourself one of my favorite apps to use is Headspace. Another one of my goals in this category is to eat at home more often. I often go out or order out so I’m committing to 5 meals a week home cooked. Frozen pizza counts of course!

That’s it! Short and simple and totally achievable! Another interesting thing about goals is that when we set them up so they are easy to achieve it builds trust with ourselves and makes it easier to achieve bigger things. I would love to hear from you guys what you are looking to cultivate in these last 3 months of 2018!

Andrea Levoff, Dope Ass Mom

 

 

 

 

Dope Ass Mom, sibling rivalry

I consider myself a pretty easy going person but when my kids fight IT DRIVES ME INSANE. Sibling rivalry is the name experts have given it but pure hell is a more accurate description to me.  It’s enough when they are being difficult on their own but when they argue and wine it’s a special kind of annoying sauce that seems like it was made just to hit my buttons. ORDER UP! I know this is familiar to anyone who has kids that are close in age. When I got pregnant with Max I was so excited to give Anna a sibling.

“They will be the best of friends,” I thought to myself as I daydreamed about them playing quietly while I cooked dinner. The second I started dilating I knew that wasn’t going to be the case. Anna was jealous that she no longer had my undivided attention and in her mind, obviously, Max was the reason. I am no parenting expert but my exhaustive research and common sense have led me to the following conclusions.

The main key that I have found is prevention. This involves strengthening your relationship with each child, their relationship but not in obvious team building way because they will see right through that shit! Here are some things that have worked for our family :

Dope Ass mom sibling rivalry

Spend individual time with each child

Kids don’t want to share you because let’s face it, you’re amazing. You are their favorite toy! Spending time alone with each child lets them know that they are special to you and gives you time to connect. I try to do to this every week even if I’m busy. A quick errand just the two of us can turn into a mini “date.” Once a month I try to make it more special like a movie or a meal out.

Reward the pleasant behavior with PRAISE 

I mean lay it on THICK. I’ve read this in multiple parenting books and I know why! It works! With older kids, you need to be careful because they can call bullshit if you aren’t being sincere. Just make sure you are sincerely liking their behavior and don’t hesitate to leave out any moment that even resembles a good sibling relationship.   A positive side effect of this practice is that you will actually start to see more of this because you are looking for it! You really do get what you look for!

Plan a day of YES

I learned this from a friend of mine when my daughter was in preschool and guys this is brilliant. We have a day every once in a while called the day of ” yes.” So everything they ask for ( within reason of course) is a YES! Ice cream for breakfast?! SURE, stay up late? OF COURSE! I was so afraid to start this but honestly, they rarely ask for something that I can’t let slide for one day. They also feel united in their front to come up with crazy requests together. Try it and please let me know how it goes. The stories can be rather entertaining!

Choose love 

When our children are fighting, it’s easy to get caught up in the right and wrong and start screaming. Truth be told often our own stuff gets triggered when we are caught up in heated moments and it’s very hard to control our own emotions about the situations. Anytime I’m able to take a step back and take a breath and choose love, it always ends more peaceful. Choosing this way doesn’t mean not setting limits, it simply means not getting caught up in emotions and trying to understand my kid’s perspectives. More kids = more perspectives = more work,  but also MORE LOVE.

Dope Ass mom sibling rivalry

Dope Ass mom, andrea levoff, son

The mother/son relationship is so special. Sometimes I joke with him that he is welcome to live with me forever. As much I would love to cuddle and kiss him for the rest of his life, I know I need to prepare him to be a conscious man that will eventually have an important role in society and his family. I think we haven’t done enough for our boys and it’s time to change that.

When I look around at our current climate, it makes my heart hurt. I do think we as a society has contributed to this toxic masculinity that I see so rampant today and in the news so often. I treasure this little boy and his heart so much and I have been thinking lately about what I can do to make sure he grows up to be a healthy example of the masculine. Here are some steps I’m taking in hopes of raising a conscious man :

Crying is not a weakness – In fact, it’s the exact opposite! Nothing good comes from suppressing our emotions but somehow we have given our boys the message that it’s not OK to cry or be upset. Too often we say things like ” be a man! ” or ” deal with it.” In my opinion, this is absolutely crazy and giving them the wrong message. You can still be tough and cry. You can still be masculine and have sadness. How can we expect our boys to be sensitive to other’s needs if they can’t even recognize their own? If I can teach him to be with himself through the dark times, I know he will be able to hold space for others to do the same.

Be able to cook and clean –  This is much for my son as it is my future daughter in law. How sexy is it when a man can take care of himself? Maybe not something I thought much about when I was younger, but now. … hubba hubba

Confidence and Ego are not the same – True confidence is an inside job. It’s knowing that you are worthy, capable and loved no matter what. Confidence is hella sexy. Ego is only concerned with appearance, how things look vs. how things really are. Ego is easily affected by outside opinion and mostly concerned with being popular.  Ego is fragile. Confidence is steadfast. I want my boy to be confident and soul based. Not ego driven and cocky.

Laugh at your mistakes – Making mistakes is part of the human experience. Being able to laugh at yourself and be quick to learn from them is a skill that can be developed. I think one of my greatest gifts is that I don’t take anything too seriously. I’m hoping I can pass that down to my boy. Once we can laugh at them, we can own them. Being able to say, I’m sorry I hurt you, what can I do to repair this is the mark of a really strong man.

Attitude is everything – You can’t always control what happens to you, but you can control how you react. Managing your attitude and responses is one of the best things to learn as an adult. I’ve always been a glass half full person and I know that mindset is almost always the missing link when people are struggling. There’s always what happened and then the story we tell ourselves about what happened. Controlling what we say to ourselves about what happened is sometimes our only choice!

I see it everywhere now where men are being asked to stand forward and be better versions of themselves. I think it starts at home with our boys. Teaching them and loving them and allowing them to express without feeling judged for being weak. I think it’s up to the awakened mom’s like us to do our part to shepherd them into the healthy masculine so that one day they can hold space for the beautiful feminine. What do you guys think? Is there anything you are doing for your boys that feels different from the way you’ve noticed boys being raised in the past?

Andrea Levoff, son dope ass mom son

dope ass mom, lessons for my son

Dope Ass Mom, Parenting advice

Andrea levoff, dope ass mom tips, relationships with kids

I want you to ask yourself a question. How would you rate your relationship with your kids? Since school has started, I’ve noticed myself speeding up a bit. I’ve become more focused on getting things done, and less on the relationships. In the mornings, before school, I’ve been yelling, like a drill sergeant somedays. I had to stop and ask myself, how do I want my kids to remember me? I know how important it is to me to build a strong relationship with my kids. I know this will serve them, and my as we move forward and into the teen (yikes) years.

When I asked myself this question the other day, my honest answer was a 7. That’s not good enough for me. I want a 10. Next, I asked myself what I needed to do to make it a 10, I pulled out my journal and this is what I wrote to myself:

Slow the F down : Seriously. Does it really matter if they are late somedays? Do I want them to grow up to be hurried, frenzied adults?  Because the way I am with them now is what I am programming into their bodies. Sure, it’s an important life skill to be on time and takes a lot more planning ahead the night before, but isn’t it worth it to have a less frantic morning? When I get so annoyed because they are taking forever to leave the house can I see it through a different lens? Perhaps they aren’t trying to personally offend me, can’t it just be that they love the home I’ve created for them and find it hard to leave? With all the activities we have these days, my plans for the fall are to take a deep breath and slow down my pace whenever possible.

Be Present:  I’ve heard this a lot lately and I feel like it’s become sort of a buzzword on social media. To me being present means being with what is and also to be fully there. So if you’re reading your kids a story, that’s all your doing in your actions and your mind. It also means that if you’re experiencing a negative emotion, you are fully there, with it. I think that’s what makes this one is easier said than done. My job is basically to be on my phone. I love posting stories and sharing my life with you guys. Yet I’ve noticed how sometimes it takes away from the moment. I miss the cute little things they say or the insights they have. As they watch me always stuck to my phone or planning the next thing in my head they are learning to do the same. Isn’t that the crux and the blessing of motherhood? We have the opportunity to teach them healthy habits but we also have the opportunity to teach the ones that won’t serve them. I have a wonderful morning routine that I will share later this week that helps me stay present because I know I’m not missing something and helps me stay present throughout the day.

Parenting advice, dope ass mom tips

Play with them:  Allowing myself to see the world through their eyes is one of the greatest gifts my kids have given me. In the times I’ve been able to truly be with them and get lost in their play, I’ve found that we truly connect and enjoy each other. I think this strengthens the relationship in a couple of ways. First, it builds trust, mom wants to understand me. Therefore if I have a problem I know I can come to her with it, no matter what. Second, it allows me to let go of any expectations I have for them to ” be a certain way.” This, in turn, gives them the message, ” Mom loves me just the way I am.” That’s a win-win!

See things from their perspective: Most of the time our kids don’t have an agenda. When they are being slow or doing something we don’t like, at this age, it’s rarely to punish us. It’s because they haven’t quite learned that sometimes they have to put other peoples needs, or the needs of their family ahead of their own. When I see it that way, it takes the personal offense out of it. The best advice I heard as a parent with your kids is that I am not reasoning with a small adult. Kids are kids. Their brains are not like ours. Lots of explaining and rationalizing with them just do not work. It’s better to reward the behavior we like and as best we can ignore the other stuff. When I see things through their eyes it makes it a lot easier to accept that they aren’t me with my agenda. My 6-year-old doesn’t care so much if I make my meeting. He’s more interested in mastering getting his shoes tied on his own or buttoning his coat. This awareness really helps me to manage expectations while slowly teaching them to consider the bigger picture.

Love them: Actively love them. Shower them with praise. Bathe them in it. Smother them. Ok, maybe not smother them. I make it a point to tell them how much I love them all the time. Before bed, I try to think of two or three things they did that day that demonstrated them being loving to themselves or to other people. I call it ” sweet talk” and they seriously eat it up.  If you have younger kids, the cutest thing to do is have them ” overhear” you singing their praises to a stuffed animal or another parent. This is the perfect thing to do before bedtime or first thing in the morning because it really sets the tone for great sleep or a beautiful day.

These are my intentions for the busy season that is fall. I can’t wait to share my progress and any changes I notice with you guys! Do you guys like when I share my thoughts on how I am planning to move forward in different seasons? Let me know in the comments and please share your intentions!

parenting advice, dope ass mom tips, Andrea Levoff

Art institute, dope ass mom, Chicago blogger

 

“It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.” Steven Pressfield 

We’ve all been there. You desperately need an inspiration for a special project and have a deadline that is fast approaching. Or maybe you are are just feeling blah and want to feel reinvigorated about your life and passion in general. As someone who works in a creative field, I know too well that feeling when I just can’t get excited about anything. Sitting down to write feels like the hardest thing in the world in those times.  Inspiration can feel so elusive when I need it the most. Over the years I have developed some tools that always seem to get me over the hump, I hope that they can help you to when you’re feeling uninspired and experiencing resistance.

Work in a beautiful place – Changing up your work environment always helps to think of new ideas to write about. Public places are great for people watching and getting lost in thoughts and ideas. If it’s good weather, sitting outside in nature is a great way to connect with inspiration. Make sure to pay attention to your surroundings and jot any ideas that come to you, even if they don’t make total sense.

Dope Ass mom, how to get inspired

Write in a journal – studies show that handwriting (not typing) activates your right brain which is your creative side. If you are constantly on a computer try trading your keyboard for a pen or pencil. Handwriting also forces us to slow down, which is good for inspiring creativity. Anytime I am brainstorming ideas I always pick up a pen and notebook to start. I always enjoy spending time picking out a pretty notebook and special pen for my writing.

Andrea Levoff, Dope Ass mom, downtown Chicago

Dope Ass mom, inspiration, how to be inspired

Do what you fear the most – you’ve heard it before but often times what we fear the most is the exact thing we need to do to break through to the other side of our block. When I first started doing stand up I was so consumed with fear I actually started sobbing. It took me a while to accomplish the physical part of doing comedy but by taking three-foot tosses towards the larger goal got me there. For instance, I didn’t go out the next day and perform, I signed up for a class and started writing jokes!  I can’t imagine my life ( or creativity) without conquering that fear. Ask yourself what’s one thing I could do today to conquer my fear, and take one small step towards it today!

Andrea Levoff, how to be inspired when you're not

Attend a Conference or retreat – This is actually my best tip for getting ( and more importantly staying) inspired. I’ve made it a point in my life to always put myself in growth situations. If you aren’t growing, you’re dying! Scheduling a conference or retreat a few times a year puts me in that mindset and having events spread out helps keep the momentum going throughout the year. I always look at my calendar at the beginning of the year and block off the time so it doesn’t get filled up with stuff that’s not as important.

Just start! – Let’s be real most of us can’t always sit around and wait for inspiration to show up! Often times it shows up after we’ve been had the pen to paper for quite some time. Recently I had been trying to think of a name for a comedy show for days and it finally came to me about 3 am after my kids had woken me up. My point is, just start creating. Don’t worry about being perfect or editing yourself. We all get the first draft that no one else needs to see. Get your ideas down on paper without judgment.  Inspiration meets you at the point of action, meaning that often once we start taking action the idea shows up!

Always remember that resistance and feeling uninspired are just part of the creative process. If you’re feeling this way you are not alone. Try one (or all) of the things listed above and watch how quickly these feelings dissipate. We were born to create,  so don’t stop. And if you want more support on these, make sure to check out my favorite books. Happy creating!

Andrea Levoff, dope ass mom, inspiration