Today’s post comes to us from new Penelope Loves Lists contributor, Lisa Shields. Lisa’s a tall, blonde Superwoman: she’s a wife and mom of two absolutely amazing girls, aged 11 and 14. Her oldest is an elite swimmer and man, it’s amazing how much dedication and time that takes- not just from the athlete, but from her mom, too! Oh, and she also works full time with me (and is one of my closest friends) and still manages to throw the very best parties anyone has ever attended.
Lisa can truly do it all, but she also knows too well the downside of trying to be that perfect version of ourselves. I’m so glad she’s going to be a part of the PLL team. I know what she writes will resonate with you.
There is a version of myself that lives in my head and she’s constantly trying to convince me to let her be a little more a part of my everyday.
This girl doesn’t look much different than the Real World me (OK, fine, she’s probably got a bigger cup size and smoother thighs … #letsbehonest). She doesn’t have a neater home or a nicer car or more well-behaved children. No, this version looks and feels and sounds a lot like Regular Me.
Except for this one very specific detail: When this girl’s head hits her pillow at night, she has lived a day oozing with intention. I mean, this girl not only has a plan, but a purpose for the way she moves about her life.
And, here’s the kicker: she ain’t letting nothin’ get in her way.
I consider myself organized (#imapenelope) and quite the logistical master. In the little things, I do have a plan and I rarely deviate from it.
But, in the big scheme of life, I often feel way more like I’m swimming upstream and getting thrown against the rocks by the current.
After a few nights of laying my head down feeling battered and bruised, these types of thoughts pervade my mind:
- “How am I making a difference to others?”
- “What is our family doing to create memories?”
- “What life skills am I teaching my children?”
- “When, Dear God, is the next vacation?”
These are BIG questions. And to answer them in a way that would impact my life on the daily, I knew I needed a shiny new tool in my arsenal. It isn’t enough to just want a more intentional life, I needed to find a way to baby-step towards becoming that other girl in my head.
Enter, The Family Whiteboard.
This simple tool has given my family the ability to move through our daily, weekly and monthly routines with a renewed sense of purpose.
Once a week, we sit down and “white board” the coming week together. It’s a great time to talk about what’s on our minds, what we’re excited about, what we’re nervous about, what we’d like to achieve. The simple act of disconnecting from our devices and actively investing in each other feels like a major win.
Our white board, up close and personal, looks like this, and is broken up into two main categories:
Weekly Logistics – top half
- Meals: What’s for dinner? You won’t hear this question around our house anymore. The menu lives on the white board.
- Schedule: Q: When is my ortho appt, swim practice, talent show….? A: Check the white board!
Goals and Plans – bottom half
- Monthly Family Goal: #teamwork
- Monthly Personal Goals: Everyone makes one and we agree to hold each other accountable.
- Fun: What do we have on the calendar that’s fun? Make a list! Let’s squeeze out every bit of excitement and anticipation for that next vacation or upcoming movie night.
- Serving: It’s a priority to us to give back. So, we write out how or what we are doing to serve every month.
These are the categories that we concentrate on, but really, the possibilities are endless. The key here is to break down the answers to those BIG questions into bite-sized pieces that can be worked into every day living. And, then, to take 20 minutes a week to sync up on how things are going.
In practice, its very simple.
When I stack together a few weeks of living the #familywhiteboard life, then– usually, hopefully–that girl steps out of my head and takes a spin in my reality.
And wouldn’t you know, when my head hits the pillow, my reality looks mighty fine.