“Call Me CEO” is your master-class on innovation, creativity, leadership, and finding YOUR perfect balance between motherhood and entrepreneurship.

Ever wonder how being honest about your struggles can actually make you stronger? Michelle Mansfield, host of the Honest Mom podcast, joins us to share her transformative journey from health coaching to podcasting. Michelle sheds light on the importance of authenticity and vulnerability in motherhood, emphasizing how candidly sharing our own stories can create a supportive community. Discover how morning routines can set a positive tone for your day and redefine what it means to be “just a mom,” bringing peace and balance to the chaos of daily life.

How do generational differences and social media narratives shape our views on motherhood? In this enlightening conversation, Michelle discusses turning personal challenges into sources of empowerment. Learn how she navigated the complex world of publishing a children’s book and why maintaining one’s identity is crucial amidst the hardships and joys of motherhood. You’ll also gain valuable insights into managing career aspirations while prioritizing family, especially during the slower summer months, with practical tools for balancing work and family life.

Ever felt overwhelmed by the idea of pivoting or embracing failure? Michelle reflects on her own experiences, offering wisdom on how to honor where you are in your motherhood journey. From the significance of meaningful relationships to finding passions outside of parenting, this episode is packed with advice and encouragement. Whether you’re looking to establish a fulfilling morning routine or simply find peace in the everyday chaos, Michelle’s heartfelt storytelling provides a wealth of inspiration for every mother navigating her unique path.


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    Michelle: 0:00

    Don't put too much pressure on yourself. Don't compare yourself to what other mothers out there are doing too much, and connect with that intuition that's inside of you.

    Camille: 0:18

    So you want to make an impact. You're thinking about starting a business, sharing your voice. How do women do it that handle motherhood, family and still chase after those dreams? We'll listen each week as we dive into the stories of women who know this is Call Me CEO. Having feelings of self-doubt as a mother is completely normal, relatable and something that every single mother struggles with, and in today's episode we're going to be talking with Michelle Mansfield, who has the Honest Mom podcast, which talks about how each mother, each of us, can find our own tuition and find connection to who we are, the role of motherhood, with its highs and its lows, and what you can do to find a happy balance in all of that, in the mix, in the mess, in the chaos. So today I want you to pay attention to three things. We're talking about the beauty of a morning routine. I want you to think about if you have one and, if you don't, how you could change that and possibly have one that works well for you. Also, what it means to be just a mom, and also what you can do to have a peaceful and happy motherhood moving forward.

    Camille: 1:33

    Welcome back, everyone, to another episode of Call Me CEO. I am your host, camille Walker. And today we are talking about honesty, we're talking about motherhood and we're talking about how to be comfortable and happy and even secure in taking a slower pace with your business and canceling the hustle culture in motherhood. And today I have Michelle Mansfield with me. She is the host of the Honest Mom podcast and such a good podcast. She just started it in December. I was a guest on it recently and I love it so much because, michelle, I love that you talk so much about embracing honesty, embracing the struggle. So welcome to the show. Thank you so much for being here.

    Michelle: 2:17

    Thanks for having me, it's so. I'm just so honored to be here. Camille, I love your podcast as well and glad that we can, you know, have this conversation today. And hi, listeners out there.

    Camille: 2:30

    Now for everyone. I know I've done an official introduction that you have heard, but please tell our audience about what got you started in this journey of embracing the honesty of motherhood, the authenticity that we're all craving. What took you down that path of creating a conversation around it?

    Michelle: 2:46

    It was kind of by accident.

    Michelle: 2:48

    It was super unintentional, which I love when things like that happen. I was a health coach. I'm not practicing anymore as a active health coach, but I worked primarily with women in the prenatal as well as during pregnancy and postpartum as well, and certified in all those areas and I found a lot of women that were sitting on the chair next to me when we'd just be talking. That was my style of us, just like sitting next to each other in comfy chairs and just talking like friends, getting that cozy blanket around each other. And I found that, beyond the you know world of diet, movement and all those things that we were, you know, talking about that, the mental side, the mental health of these women always came up in our conversations and most of them were moms. I think I worked, 99% of them were moms and most of them ended up at some point. I don't know if I had this like magic touch of they just all of a sudden had this breakdown. Tears were usually involved about how overwhelmed they were with motherhood and they didn't know who to talk to. And through that and the many women I spoke with, I finally, like the light bulb slowly started. It's like a dimmer was on it and it slowly turned on and I was like, oh, I felt these this way too, and I still do, but I've been hiding it so much that I'm not even connected with it.

    Michelle: 4:26

    So I think these women so much. I'm so grateful to all these women for sharing their stories, so that I was comfortable sharing mine, first of all, just acknowledging what I was going through, but also then I felt comfortable being vulnerable myself. So I'm like I'm going to give the gift back to the people and, do the same, share my stories. But I'm like I'm going to give the gift back to the people and, do the same, share my stories. But I'm like, how am I going to do that? So I started out with writing, blogging. I started writing a book in 2018. And then a lot of women said they love podcasts so much, where I just was like, let me give it to them in a form where it's my voice and like a conversation. So that's where it came in December, this past December.

    Camille: 5:10

    I love that so much, as I've been thinking about this and specifically the topic of honesty and motherhood, and why, what is the vulnerability about it that we hold back from sharing, and what's really interesting, because I think there's so much to unpack here that I also worry a lot about the TikTok generation of kids that are watching mothers lamenting about how terrible or horrible motherhood can be, in the way of them saying I would never want to do that, and so it's like kind of this, this limbo, this tango that I'm like okay for sure, we need to talk about the stresses of motherhood more, the reality of the pull of what it is in its entirety, cause there is so much.

    Camille: 5:57

    However, there is a flip side of the beautiful journey that it is and how we can grow so much from motherhood, and that, even though there are hard days, there are always going to be better ones, and so what do you think about that? As far as and have you seen that side of it where that's something that you've considered telling these stories as well Not that I don't know that teenagers would be listening to the podcast, because it's kind of a different audience, but have you seen that? The juxtaposition of those story, those storylines?

    Michelle: 6:30

    Oh, totally. You bring up such a great point because my original intention when I was writing the book in 2018 was just me, like you know, getting out all these feelings, and I found it. It had not. It's like it did have a negative tone. I mean, let's be honest, if I'm going to be honest and I remember speaking with like agents as well as like smaller publishers about having more of a solution based Publishers love, when you're doing a self-help book, for there to be takeaways. So the advice and the coaching I was getting from people out there in the writing world was this is great, but it's almost like your memoir or your diary, like you're just kind of like letting things out with no takeaway for the reader, for that person. So why do you want to put it out in the world to someone? You might as well just write on your computer and keep a diary to yourself and let out all these feelings. And I'm you know it took me a while to realize this and you know.

    Michelle: 7:28

    So what you just said is completely I connected with that and it's funny because I work at a fitness center in the Chicagoland area and the there's some younger instructors that I work with. I'm the oldest. I joke that I'm the granny of the group, being almost 46. And I'm working with girls in their early 20s and some of them are dating and some of them are single and a lot of them say that they don't want to be a mom. And there's a lot of moms that work there and it's like, do they hear like other mothers complaining about motherhood a lot? Do they see stuff on TikTok, instagram or whatever I you know, and they're just terrified or they're like you know, I don't want to deal with that. I never heard stuff growing up and that was kind of my motivation is like, why didn't anyone you know talk about this stuff, like you know?

    Michelle: 8:26

    But I think there's a way to to just blend, like you said, blend in the honesty, but also like some solutions and inspiration and hope that sometimes it's just a seasonal thing that you're dealing with, like any adjustment when you move, when you start a new job, when you know, when you bring a new family member in, when you get married, there are adjustments to big things in life, finances, and how do you not let it stop you from living a wonderful life, a life that has its ups and downs but, like you said, a life where there's growth from the challenges and you meet incredible people through it and you honor the hard time, but you know that it's not permanent, so it's a great point.

    Michelle: 9:16

    So that's like my goal with my podcast, with things I do on social media, is, you know, girls, I don't want you to be in the dark and for you to like, look at this baby like I did, like why am I not like loving this right now? And like I'm crying and I'm lost. I don't want people to feel that way, girls to feel that way, but I I want them to be connected, that they may have these feelings they may not, but if they do, there's support and there's ways to get through it, to enjoy your motherhood eventually.

    Camille: 9:51

    I love that and I think that it honestly comes down to if you have knowledge, you have power, and I think that something that perhaps maybe our generation, maybe we felt that we were taken off guard or maybe there wasn't enough of a conversation around it where we had knowledge of the support and that there was, you know, more to be learned about postpartum and what what it meant to that fed is best.

    Camille: 10:19

    You know that these babies need to be fed and mom's mental health is paramount because that's what helps the baby thrive Right. So I really appreciate that you're bringing these conversations forward and also giving space for the joy too, because I feel like, unfortunately, that is a narrative that's being shared more than ever on social, where a lot of the young women I know are scared of motherhood, that they're like why would you do that? Why would you choose to never sleep again and why would you choose to be miserable all the time? And so I appreciate that you're sharing that that's not the case, but knowledge is power and that you can go into it with eyes wide open and that you can go into it with eyes wide open.

    Michelle: 11:07

    Yeah, and like, one of the things that I topics and the hard feelings that I talk about center around identity and, you know, not losing yourself in motherhood, which I know you are a huge supporter with your business and your podcast. And I want you know girls out there to not look at the, because, I agree with you, there's been some accounts that I'm just like, oh, like, and again, it's their message. I don't think they're horrible people, it just doesn't resonate with me. And where it is like overly negative, overly complaining mess world, where it's like it just looks like like miserable and it's the same thing with like spout, like with marriage partnerships, where people are out there like complaining about their husbands and this and that and their wives and their you know whatever. And it's like I found that with like some of my friends, I'm like that they would just be like complaining so much. Where I'm like it's not all, that we don't need to sit there.

    Michelle: 12:07

    And like the world of social media, I feel like someone gets on one thing and then 50 other accounts get on it, hop on it to just be relevant, and it's like it's not. I love so many things about motherhood. So even if you go through my feed, if you listen to some of my episodes, I do talk about some hard topics that I dealt with, because I did deal with them. But I also I don't regret anything and I've had some hard stages of motherhood, but the last five years Brooklyn is now nine have been. We've had so much fun.

    Camille: 12:41

    This is like my stage you know that I'm, that I'm loving.

    Michelle: 12:45

    And I. But I look back. I just did a post today. I looked back at a bunch of her newborn pictures and I was smiling looking at them and even though it was it was hard and challenging I'm like, wow, I thought at that moment, where I am today, where she is today, and that it wasn't all bad. I looked at these pictures and I'm like, oh my gosh, I remember that. I remember that I'm like, all right, we got to talk about the hard things, but let's also talk about all the wonderful things that go with it. And that includes many other things within, you know, motherhood.

    Camille: 13:21

    Yeah, I want to talk about shifting gears a little bit. We're going into the summer, into the summer months of bringing the kids back home and still trying to maintain a sense of normalcy and the way of creating space for fun and creating space for getting things done and also the work on the side or however many hours of the day that it is for you personally and I love that in our pre-interview that you had mentioned that you really want to tap into honoring a slower pace with career so that you can focus on what matters most, which is our family. Focus on what matters most, which is our family. And I want to talk to you about what do you think, what are some tools that you plan to put in place for these summer months where you can honor that slower pace of you know, pulling back the reins of what you're doing in business so that you can really embrace the moments you have now?

    Michelle: 14:21

    Yeah, not to bring age into it again, but I will note that I'm going to be 46 this summer, so I'm not 30 just starting out with anything or you know, I'm kind of not in retirement mode, but I've got that like slower pace starting and I've worked really hard since I've been 15 years old and up until the day I gave birth to Brooklyn and as well as after, you know, I built my health coaching business. I wrote three children's books and did events and virtual study. I mean it's been crazy. And now you know what's going on now with the pod, the book and the podcast.

    Michelle: 14:59

    And recently I told my agent I'm done with the book, I'm not doing it. And she's been, you know, pitching to publishers and she's like are you sure? And I said you know, I know what it takes to publish children's books. I've educated myself what it takes to publish a grownup book, a nonfiction book. I have mentors that I've worked with for four years now a nonfiction book. I have mentors that I've worked with for four years now. Conferences I've gone to. I've followed people with their book launches and all the stuff that you have to do to sell a book nowadays. And I told her I said I don't want to do that anymore. I don't have the energy or the heart to do that anymore. 15, 20 years ago maybe, maybe you know I would have. But I'm like you know I'm. I don't want to miss what I'm doing right now. I I'm enjoying this stage.

    Michelle: 15:56

    Like I was saying, it's been really great with Brooklyn and myself. Nine has been a great. Actually. You know, eight was a great age, seven was a great age, but nine is but it gets, but it's getting better. Nine has been fun and I want to have a great summer with her. She's in camps and stuff, but like a nine to noon here to there and then we'll go to the pool. And I've just had too many summers where it's like that three hour window when she's at camp. I feel like it goes by so quickly and I don't get anything done. And then I'm stressed the rest of the day and working at night, working in the morning, and then I'm like summer's done and she's back in school. I'm like what happened? What happened? So I have really connected to the word truth this year and what my truth is and what I want to do and I don't want to be panicked and miss this summer. So I'm letting the book go and the book is the podcast, that's I'm going to get the information.

    Michelle: 16:52

    I pivoted. Saying goodbye to something doesn't mean that you're failing. It doesn't mean you're quitting. Sometimes you need to pivot and, honestly, moms out there I know you're going to be nodding, but most love podcasts. They're easy, they're digestible.

    Michelle: 17:07

    I can still get my content to everyone. I can shoot some blogs out. I'm blogging for other people now and I've planned my summer ahead of time. So my episodes I'm recording more right now. Instead of one episode a week, I'm recording, I'm doing three and getting them like pre-scheduled. So I'm still alive in the summer in that sense.

    Michelle: 17:33

    But I'm really looking forward to this summer. I'm looking forward to actually traveling again, because we haven't traveled in two years and I want to enjoy my vacation and not be on my phone or bring a laptop, and it's only two months. I'm not to be honest. My husband makes enough money for me to be able to do that and I hate when people sit there and they say all this stuff that they can do this and do that and whatever, and then they they're not really honest that they're able to financially do that and I think that's a sense of relief to like. I am blessed that my husband does make enough money and I also teach fitness classes where I make a decent amount of money and it's doable and manageable.

    Michelle: 18:30

    I've done it for four years now where I improvise and I'm in a groove and I'm not like nervous or panicked, it's like second nature to me, where it's not easy money but it's enjoyable money, where I am getting a paycheck and so I can. So I want to be honest, moms, with you out there, because some people aren't like I am able to do this, some aren't. They do have to work, they do have to put in the hours in the summer, but are there ways that you can prepare ahead of time, take vacations, take that downtime to recharge and not always be on all the time? I don't know what your thoughts are on that, camille, but I know some people can't take the summer off, but are there other ways that you can recharge? Wait, what did you want me to?

    Camille: 19:19

    Yeah. So I do think there I love that you talked about planning ahead that there are ways that we can kind of batch. It's probably too late. Ladies, if you're listening to this now you're probably like, oh no, it's already started, it's never too late. Maybe it's something where you can batch a couple of days where you tell your kids, okay, I'm going to get a crazy ton amount of work done in these three days so that we can have extra time in the weeks coming up.

    Camille: 19:47

    Because I don't know about your kids but mine, in that first week of summer I do not plan anything. I let them sleep in as long as they want, I let them watch TV as much as they want, I let them play with friends as much as they want. And then that second week of summer is when I introduce the chore chart, which they know it's coming. My kids have already been talking about it. They're like two more weeks until summer, two more weeks until the chore chart. They know it's coming. So we do a chore chart, we talk about quiet time, we talk about friend time, and then they have their activities.

    Camille: 20:19

    But maybe if you're listening to this and thinking, oh, that's a good idea, I really need to batch some work or get some of this done. Maybe in that first week you just say hey, I have some work to do, so I need you to give me some time. But this is your week to sleep in, watch TV, hang out with friends. It's summer, I want you to just take this week off. And so maybe if you haven't batched the way Michelle has and you're thinking I want to do that, that could be a little quick tip of how you could make that happen now.

    Michelle: 20:54

    Yeah, and you know, Camille, another thing that people are going to roll their eyes probably at me about this but I, when I was homeschooling Brooklyn last year and I was writing a book proposal which was it's an ordeal in itself I was waking I know this is cliche, but waking up early and I got in the habit of having like a couple hours before she woke up and I will say, like the first week it was an adjustment. So I slowly like put that alarm clock earlier and earlier, so it was an adjustment. And then, you know, I would get up around that like five o'clock area and make my coffee and I was super productive, where then my, my day was just so much, there was so much more ease in the day, and I will. Yeah, it takes a couple of weeks to adjust, but now I'm, I'm an early bird and I cherish my mornings and I just get so much done, and it's been, you know, a couple of years that I've been.

    Michelle: 21:54

    You know that early bird people joke, you know. And then I go to bed. I do go to bed early too, but if you're more of a night owl, maybe you're more productive at night, Maybe mornings just aren't your thing and that's okay and you could find a time that does work. But, like you said, like maybe a mother's helper can come by where you can batch and just get some stuff done. So then you're fully present and not stressing about all the to-do lists in your head.

    Camille: 22:19

    Yeah, I will say I have recently started becoming an. Okay, let's just take a minute to respect everyone listening right now. There are phases and stages for the ability to wake up early on a consistent schedule. Absolutely, it's not based on a baby waking you up, because there have been so many years of nursing and like babies, crying and teething and nightmares and whatever I mean. I've been there many, many times. So if you're in a stage like that and you don't have a an ability to wake up consistently early every morning, it's just not that season yet. However, this last year I have started waking up early and it is the magical morning.

    Camille: 23:01

    I don't know if you've read that book. I don't follow like a specific schedule routine that I do every single morning, but I am a much more patient mother when I am awake and I've done something for myself before I become the mother to the children in my home, and they know it too. Would you agree with that morning ritual where, if you can find something, it doesn't have to be working out? Maybe for you it's your morning coffee and writing and whatever else that could be, but I know for myself that I show up as a better form of me and a better mom to them when I've taken the time to take care of myself. What would you say to that, michelle? Do you agree with that?

    Michelle: 23:52

    Yes, but I will say that I rolled my eyes back in the day with that and I think it was because I was in a stage of motherhood where it just wasn't going to work for me, and it was frustrating to like read something and be like, oh I wish I could do that, but she's this or that, or I'm exhausted, or sometimes you're just just done, you're just mentally exhausted.

    Michelle: 24:12

    But now, but when she came into a stage where she was sleeping better, which honestly didn't happen to like five years old, she was still waking up with nightmares at least once or twice a night. And mommy, you know they don't. They call mommy you know, yep.

    Michelle: 24:27

    Oh for sure. So you know moms out there that are listening. If you're in a stage where what I tell you next doesn't resonate with you or you're like what, what is she talking about? That's how I felt Now, and this has taken time. It wasn't like I woke up on a Tuesday and just started doing all this stuff and it worked. It was me gradually introducing things where now I have this routine where I don't have an anxiety attack if I don't do it all. So, like Saturdays, sometimes I sleep in, you know, and enjoy my morning and not have the stress of an alarm clock going off. But typically, monday through Friday, my routine is I wake up at 5 am, I pet my cats for 10 minutes because they are so meaty in the morning, and it's my therapy. It's like my ah, like you know, just someone loving me, without saying anything. And then I go down, I change into my workout clothes I know it's okay If you're saying what you're saying in your head I go downstairs with my workout clothes on and I feed my cats, because they yell at me if I don't and then I go downstairs.

    Michelle: 25:43

    I do have a Peloton. I'm a fitness instructor, so I use Peloton to inspire me, as with my classes, as well as to just. You know I love fitness. It's been my lifesaver with motherhood and how I feel and my mental health as well. But I go downstairs and I do my workout. I do less than an hour, I'm not crazy, I'm not like going, you know, two hours in the morning. So I do just a little bit of you know. I do some spin for 20 minutes, I do some strength training for 20 minutes and then I do a little bit of, you know, yoga maybe, and stretching, and then I do a morning meditation while I'm in the basement, like it's part of it. Peloton has meditation, so I stack my classes where it goes from one to the next, to the next to the next. So I'm forced to do my 10 minute meditation. I started out at five, I'm now at 10 minutes and I probably won't go above that. And then I go upstairs, my cats follow me and I take my shower. I don't wash my hair every day, so sometimes it's just like a 10 minute spray.

    Michelle: 26:47

    Uh, my daughter starts waking up where I go downstairs and make her lunch. Um, I have lemon water. I know this is I have my lemon water. I've been saying for over five years that I'm going to do this. Because I hear everyone in the health and wellness world does this and I was like, eh, I make my warm lemon water in the morning with some honey and I drink that and hang out with my daughter as she's having breakfast. I don't make pancakes or anything, she knows how to make her own. And then the day starts I take her to school and I'm not kidding you, if I don't do that morning routine, especially the workout, it affects my morning. I'm not like this. I'm in the best mood with her in the morning after and it's the workout, I think, and it's just the feeling of like having my own thing before it becomes someone else's day too.

    Camille: 27:43

    Yeah, I love that so much I don't have you read the book Atomic Habits.

    Michelle: 27:48

    I have been told by so many people to read it. I have it on my bookshelf, it is on my list and I need to do it. So tell me about Atomic Habits.

    Camille: 27:56

    First of all, you need to buy it audio, because on the bookshelf there's. You know, audio is just easier to consume. It's so much easier. We know this. We're podcasters, right. So I will listen to a books almost nightly when I go to sleep.

    Camille: 28:11

    I've listened to Atomic Habits more than four or five times because it's one that you can listen to and if you miss a part or if you're falling asleep as you listen to it, no big deal. But what you've just described to me are small, sequential habits that have become the makeup of your ideal morning, and that's what the book is all about. It's about creating small sequential habits where you stack you habit, stack one by one. So it's not like you started one morning and you're like, oh, today I'm going to do these five sequences and the cat and the drink and all the things, like you figured it out as you went and now you have, you have that thing that like makes you feel amazing. So that's awesome. I'm so proud of you, for me getting to Pilates in the morning.

    Camille: 28:57

    I'll tell you, my number one motivator, if you're like me at all, for those of you listening is I pay a lot of money for these, these classes, and I thought if, if I don't show up, I have to pay money for not showing up and you have to pre-register and your spot is held and they will charge you. And if you're late they will charge you, and if you don't show up they will charge you. And that was the motivation I needed to get a fitness habit so ingrained in me that now I don't wake up as early as you do. I wake up around six, 15, six, 30.

    Camille: 29:33

    I just roll out of bed, I put those clothes out, they're ready to go. I put them on and I'm pretty. I brush teeth and I'm out the door Like it's. It's a pretty like I don't think about it because the decision is already made. And I think that that's something, that if you can find something, that those healthy habits, for you the decision is already made, then you can find that like peaceful place of, like this is what my body and my mind and my I need to feel healthy before I show up as mom. And I think that's so awesome that you figured that out for yourself.

    Michelle: 30:06

    It took a while, though, like and like you said, it was small little things that I added on, so I would say like a year, to get like what I have now, and I'm so addicted to the feeling that I have, and how I treat my daughter, how I treat my husband, how my morning goes, where I'm like, I noticed a complete difference If I have an like. We were sick for a week a couple of weeks ago, and it was a different week, granted, I was sick, but me not having that morning routine. I mean, again, I didn't have a panic attack about it, but I was like oh.

    Michelle: 30:43

    I noticed a difference in my mood, my energy levels. Obviously was sick I, but my mood and just days I do skip it I, I notice and I make that mental note, I'm like, but again I also then on the weekends I take the break a little bit, I sleep in, I maybe go down the street and go to my yoga class to see some friends or cuddle with my daughter and not have the hustle of school getting ready, and hang out with my husband for a little bit and just connect over coffee and and you know, and that's fine. I think it's good to have your routines. But also if you have your days where you want to just kind of relax and just go with the flow, then that's okay too.

    Camille: 31:27

    Yeah, and I think that backpedaling a little bit, because, for the both of us, we are in a place right now where our kids are a little older, yeah, we're not having to bring them to the daycare or pushing them in strollers. But let's just take a quick minute for those who are listening and they're like okay, I want to have a healthy routine, but I have little ones at home. What should I do? And I'd love to hear your advice and I'll I'll share what worked for me too.

    Michelle: 31:53

    Oh yeah, this is so different than when Brooklyn was a toddler and when she was a newborn. I think, like a morning walk with your child is, if you, you know, based on weather, or even if it is cold, I would bundle her up and just go to my little local coffee shop to get out of the house first of all and get fresh air with my husband maybe. I think that is like such a great routine to get into and connect with nature. I spent one of my regrets is I did so much baby stuff in the house where I would enter, try to entertain this newborn or this one-year-old or even toddler in my home with games and rattles and book, like all these. You know, all those things have their purpose. But I'm like, why didn't I just get out in my world a little bit and take her with? She wouldn't care if we went on a walk here or to the, to the Arboretum, the local Arboretum, or if a target you know run is your little self-care for that day, then that's great too, or a little date with a friend. But yeah, like a morning routine doesn't have to be super rigid when you're in an unpredictable stage of motherhood where you don't know what your sleep is going to be like the night before, what your mood is going to be like If you're going through postpartum depression, if your child is crying constantly and colicky where you're just, you're like I don't want to go out in public.

    Michelle: 33:23

    So, looking within your home, little rituals, maybe a cup of tea in the afternoon, maybe when your husband or partner gets home from work, maybe if you wanna pop in an audio book in the corner, a little nook in the corner of a room, or maybe try a five minute meditation, just to disconnect you and just try things and see what works and what you may enjoy and have that attitude of like you know what. I don't have to do this every day, but I'm gonna try it today. It's something new, it's small. You know that overwhelming task in. I'm going to do this. I'm going to work out for an hour and a half. I'm going to join this gym and do this and eat this and eliminate grains and dairy, all these things in early motherhood. My advice is to start small, one thing that day and something maybe that you just simply enjoy. I don't know what your advice is, camille.

    Camille: 34:25

    Yeah, I love all of that. I think that you're right on target with. It's funny because I'm thinking back to the time of life when I had little ones at home. It wasn't that long ago. I still have a five-year-old in the home.

    Camille: 34:36

    But I think that allowing yourself the opportunity to think that, allowing yourself the opportunity to figure out what that passion or that fueling looks like and what does the best for you in a shortened amount of time because maybe it's not that you have an hour, but maybe you have 10 minutes Maybe you can go outside for a 10 minute walk solo and say, husband, I need to leave, or caretaker, or whomever, and get a minute to be out on your own. Or, you know, I did a lot of workout videos at home and my kids would would join me, or I would go on a lot of walks with a friend and I. That was one of the dearest friendships I hold in my life right now is a walk a friend that I used to walk with every single day with our two kids and dogs, and we were a walking circus and we just had the most meaningful, wonderful conversations. And it's a friendship that will stay with me forever. And she has moved away and I miss those simple days of being able to get out for our walks, but I love so much the idea that it doesn't have to be perfect to be meaningful and to fuel you. So, whatever it is that that is for you take time to give yourself permission to explore that.

    Michelle: 35:52

    Yeah, and like I was saying with my routine now, it took like a good year of just building and testing, like, ok, let me see how I feel by adding this in Am I overwhelmed? Okay, maybe it's not the right time. I'll just stick with what's working right now and just gradually test things out. You don't have to build Rome in a day. There's a reason for that saying. It's just, you know small little steps, so we're not overwhelmed and just throw in the towel and give up because I've been there and it's easy to do that, I understand.

    Camille: 36:26

    Now I'm going to take this conversation in a far left field because I'm curious and we talked about it for just a second. But I have curiosity about publishing a children's book. Yay, Talk to me a little bit about the process of deciding that you wanted to do that and then what you have learned from doing that and putting a book out there. What was that process like for?

    Michelle: 36:50

    you. Well, again, it was something kind of just accidental. I would. I loved and still love reading with Brooklyn and I got so addicted to children's books. I even had a subscription. I believe the company is still around. It's called Literati L-I-T-E-R-A-T-I. You can base your subscription on the age of your child and you get five books a month and a nice little self-addressed envelope if you need to return any of them, if you don't like any cute little gifts and little things that go with the books, like she would get like stickers with her name on it to put in the book and the theme of that month, like if it was a space month, for example.

    Michelle: 37:37

    So I we have I mean my husband's like can we go to the library? Like what is with? Like how much money have you spent on books? And I remember sitting there reading a book. It was one of her favorite series called her.

    Michelle: 37:50

    The character's name was Bertie and she was an only child and I never saw dad in any of the books. So single mom and only child and Brooklyn is my. I have two stepchildren but Brooklyn is my, only myself. And this girl looked like Brooklyn, like this curly mess of the hair and just the funky clothes that she put together and her attitude about everything, where I was like I could write a children's book about Brooklyn. And I remember, like I was post, I posted a lot of videos of her on social media through the years and people would just comment on how hysterical and they're like, oh my gosh, like just super funny, especially when she was a toddler and I'm like people enjoy her. I could write a book. Oh my God, the foot I put in my mouth. So I, coincidentally then it's like the universe talks and lists or listens and talks to you. And I saw on Facebook one of my really dearest friends shared a children's book of her friend that I've never met before. And I reached out to the friend. I had the guts and I said you don't know me, I'm Judy's friend, but how did you do this? And it kind of went from there and I worked with a storybook genius publishing and they're out of Missouri and Nate and Aaron, a husband and wife team, helped create my first children's book.

    Michelle: 39:22

    So the foot in the mouth thing is it is harder than one thinks to write a children's book. You think like, oh, there's six words on this page or however many words, and it'll. You know, I could find an illustrator on Fiverr which I don't recommend. I was educated in a very good way of how challenging it is to not only appeal to a child but to appeal to the parent who is actually buying the book. You're writing for that parent as well and you, I'm sure, can agree. We're the ones that are pulling it off the shelf and reading and be like, oh yeah, I want this, or you know so, the emotional tie of that to the parent, where you put the pictures, and I would sit there and write my ideas and the whole book out and they are like too many, too much of this. You know like they educated me basically on what was going to captivate a child.

    Michelle: 40:18

    So my first book came out in 2017 and I was blessed to go with my publisher, along with other authors under their umbrella, to book con, which is the largest book convention. It's out of New York, new York city. It was so exciting to be in this booth with my publisher and have people coming to the booth and excited about the book. I got to be in an autograph this area where authors got to sign books and talk with people about your book and then I also spoke on a panel with Susan Verde, who's a famous, famous children's author. She has one of her books is I Am Yoga, I Am Peace. She's got dozens of books and I got to know her and still talk to her to this day and, yeah, we wrote two more books after that and I have two more that are sitting in PDFs and I'm waiting to unleash those.

    Michelle: 41:17

    I just took a break because it's a lot. I did a lot of events. Marketing is a lot of work, so it's not just like, oh, it'll be on a bookshelf and it'll just sell it. Is you out there, along with your publisher, hopefully? But I'm going to be honest publishers do not have the money or the heart of marketing books, because they've got a lot on their plate. They've got a lot of books that they got to put out there, a lot of books coming in as well, and so an author's responsibility is to sell that book, and so, yeah, it was a lot of work.

    Michelle: 41:54

    I don't regret anything the school visits, the local events, the online events that I would have, the connections I made with people, events, the online events that I would have, the connections I made with people, and I'm excited to unleash my next two. I just have to wait till printing costs go down because unfortunately in the world I worked with a hybrid publisher, so it's a more of a partnership and I'm the one paying for the printing, most of the printing costs. So I've got to wait until things go down in the world in this economy. But it has been such a journey. I love that Brooklyn was a part of it and she would come to me, come with me to events. She's got her own YouTube channel with that and we would do readings together online and people really, you know, connected with her and she inspired a lot of kids out there.

    Camille: 42:41

    That's so cool with her and she inspired a lot of kids out there. That's so cool. What would you want Brooklyn to learn from having watched you do all of the things that you've done with the coaching and publishing your book and sharing online? What is it that you're hoping that she is learning from watching you as her mother?

    Michelle: 42:58

    To take risks. If something doesn't work like I said earlier in this episode, failing or quitting or saying goodbye to something it doesn't mean that you're a failure or that your idea wasn't a good idea. It's magical to try things and to pivot and not being overwhelmed with feeling like you have to do it at all. I think sometimes just trying things allows you to find what you're truly passionate about. And I'm saying a pause to the books, to the children's books, for example, because it was a lot of. It was a lot. It drained me in a good way, like it, but it was a lot of work where I'm like, okay, I'm going to take a breather, I'm going to pivot and try some other things and those things I still I had. Last week I had three women come up to me Like I want to buy your books for this classroom. I want to buy your books for my occupational therapy office, cause I have a book about trying new foods and being adventurous with eating. These books still have a life to them. It's crazy how someone will pop into my life wanting a book and I just want to want my daughter to know that trying new things and taking chances just do it and you never know where it's going to take.

    Michelle: 44:23

    You Like this, the podcast that I have now. I would never have done this podcast, it never would have come to life If I wasn't in that coffee shop with my computer screen saying I'm going to, like, tell everyone about my feelings. I'm going to write a book and I wrote this you know 50,000 word book. And I wrote this you know 50,000 word book.

    Michelle: 44:45

    And that's where this podcast came from and I found that, with time and change and things that have gone on in this world and talking to mothers that you know, I connected with a way that's going to get the message out still, but in a way that I actually am enjoying more and in a time period where I just don't want a lot of pressure, like I was talking about. I just I'm not in a stage of my life right now where I want to launch a book again. Maybe in a couple of years I'll change my mind, I don't know, but I think that's what's cool and I want my daughter to know that, that to always have your mind open and you're not flaky, you're multi-passionate, you're not, you know, all over the place and unorganized, as some people may say. You're following multiple dreams and taking risks, and I think that's pretty cool.

    Camille: 45:38

    I love that answer. I love the idea that we can be multifaceted, multi-interested, multi-curious, and that is such a beautiful message for everyone that's listening to this podcast. If you're thinking that there is something stirring within you that you're curious about, you're wanting to try, take the risk, because I think that that gives you the ability to know. You don't have to be perfect or know what you're doing as a beginner. It's called being a beginner because we all start at the bottom. I'm curious with Michelle, if you, with so many interviews that you've done and the information that you've shared of that vulnerability and being honest, what is something that you've heard time and time again where women are maybe feeling alone in something, but you know from what you've shared that that is far from the truth, that many women are feeling that way.

    Michelle: 46:34

    Um, okay, can you repeat the question?

    Camille: 46:37

    What is something that you've been told as, let's say, quote a confession. Oh, something that you've been told as, let's say, quote a confession, oh, where people are like, oh, I, I feel this way and I feel so guilty, or I feel this shame about feeling this way, or you know along that vein, and that you can say absolutely not, this is. I have heard this time and time again.

    Michelle: 46:59

    Yeah Well, when it comes to, I think we have this pressure that we always have to be doing something outside of motherhood, and I do believe we need something. Don't get me wrong, but if mom's out there, if you're just, you have to listen to your gut. And if you have too much anxiety about adding anything onto your plate, that's a normal feeling to have that you have to honor. You don't have anything you have to honor. You don't have anything to prove to anyone. You don't have to prove anything to yourself.

    Michelle: 47:27

    I wish that I listened to my instincts a little bit more and what you know, what you know, cause I did struggle in the beginning with that pressure to say that I had a business and say I had this and that and I had all these other things and oh, motherhood hasn't changed me in any way. And motherhood changes us in so many ways, in so many good ways, not just the challenging times but good ways. But to honor where you're at in your motherhood and know that nothing's permanent and you can take on things as they feel right to you. You know that feeling when it feels right or when it feels kind of like I. I it's just.

    Michelle: 48:14

    I wish I listened to that voice because I've heard mothers you know out there say that that they had that pressure and they had this like need to, like prove something to others and to themselves that they were more than a mom and you know more than this. And that's not the case. I mean, if you're at home right now and motherhood is where your cap is at and where that edge is at, stay there, all right, and then just always be in tune with those feelings and that gut of when you're ready to maybe try something new and, like we said, start out small, honor your passions, maybe take on like Camille, like something that's more manageable, camille, like that you know your VA business, like something that can connect you with you, know what your purpose is in life beyond motherhood, if that's a stage that you're, that you're at. But don't put too much pressure on yourself, don't compare yourself to what other mothers out there are doing too much, and connect with that intuition that's inside of you too much and connect with that intuition that's inside of you.

    Camille: 49:26

    I love that answer so much. One of my number one things that I I hate when people say I'm just a mom. I hate that. I hate that so bad because the thing is, if you are a mom, you are everything, like period, you are someone, if not multiple people's entire universe. So let's just get that in check. You are a universe and you are everything. And if and when you're ready to take on something else, wait for that inclination, and I love that you said that because there will come times where you will be ready. I promise you there will. There will be space and time for that.

    Camille: 50:07

    So, honoring that inner voice, oh, I loved. I love how you said that so much because I worry that in my messaging of like you can fulfill that passion and that desire within you is not to say that if you don't have that desire right now, that you are less than because that there could be nothing further from the truth. Motherhood is the most noble, honorable role, the most multifaceted, challenging, hard, wonderful, amazing. You know, it's all the things. So, michelle, I love how you said that so much. Thank you so much for sharing that.

    Michelle: 50:43

    Well, I have and I have one story. I have my best friend since I've been seven years old, so almost 40 years. She has three kids two two are in high school and one in middle school and she became she's like 500 hour yoga teacher train. If anyone out there knows the world of becoming a yoga instructor, it is just to get your 200 hour is so intense. I'm getting it this fall and it's a 10 month process. So she has 500, her 500 hour and people have asked her.

    Michelle: 51:15

    Studios in the area are like why don't you come teach? You know, cause it's like if you have a passion, people think you need to do something, like to get money in. And she again, like I said earlier, is blessed where her husband does make enough money, where she doesn't have to work and bring in a paycheck. And she's like Michelle, I'm just not there right now. I'm.

    Michelle: 51:36

    I love being present with my kids and she feels we think that we need to be present when they're toddlers and babies.

    Michelle: 51:42

    She's like Michelle, just a forewarning, when they get in middle school and high school, you need to pay attention to even more like what they're doing. And she's like I feel I need to be present and involved with them, their activities, driving them and just being there for them without worrying about a job to like go to. She's like when they're gone. Who knows, maybe that's my time then. She's like but right now and I sit there and I'm like I just at the time I was like I applaud you and I still do for not being ashamed to say that that you want to be at home with your kids and you have this knowledge and you paid thousands of dollars. She's like I just love that, I have the knowledge and I'm like amen, can't we just embrace that, that we're learning and growing in other ways and we don't? Maybe a paycheck just isn't in the game right now, but maybe it will be in a couple of years or whenever.

    Camille: 52:42

    Yeah, I agree with that. There's a reason to every season, and only you can know what that is for you. So thank you, michelle, so much for coming on today's episode.

    Michelle: 52:54

    So welcome.

    Camille: 52:55

    I love we went a few different places, but I feel like it was all so well packaged in the message of following your intuition and taking the pace that is right for you. So I hope that that is what you went away with today, and thank you so much for being on the show.

    Michelle: 53:10

    Oh my gosh. Thank you everyone for listening this long. I'm sorry, I like to talk, I know. But, camille, thank you for having me as well. I really appreciate it. It's been fun, you're welcome.

    Camille: 53:27

    Hey, if you're listening to this right now and you're thinking, I am in a phase of my life where I do want something a little extra to make some money. I am now opening up my virtual assistant course, which is 60 days to VA, where you can watch the courses at your own pace, to have a business that you love at your own schedule, where you can still be at home with your kids, make money on the side, and it is in demand more than ever. I'm getting messages every single day from CEOs who are looking for reliable, knowledgeable, incredible virtual assistants, and everyone that has gone through my program has loved it and turns out to be all of those things. Now, on the flip side, if you are a busy CEO or you have a business that is overwhelming you enough that you need help, reach out to me and I can individually talk to you and match you up with one of my virtual assistants and coach you through how to use a virtual assistant effectively. If either of those are something that you're interested in, please DM me at callmeceopodcast on Instagram or email me callmeceopodcast at gmailcom. Let's help each other create a life that we love.

    Camille: 54:37

    Thank you so much for listening to today's episode. If you found this helpful, please subscribe and or come and talk to me on social media. I love to hear from you. Dms are always welcome. I want to hear about what meaningful right relationships and friendships mean to you, and if you would like to be included in the newsletter, please go to call me CEO podcast to find out how you can get weekly updates of our shows and free resources. To find out how you can get weekly updates of our shows and free resources, you can also go to camillewalkerco to find more free resources to discover your why and creating more purpose in your life today.

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