Archive for Healthy Living

Beating Down Frustration in Your Home Business

Beating Down Frustration in Your Home Business

Yesterday a huge wave of doubt and frustration came over me. It came unexpectedly and rose to such heights that I found I was drowning in negativity and talking irrationally. I expressed it to Jim and Molly, my 13yo happened to be in the kitchen too. She had never seen me doubt myself in quite that way. She was worried and showed a side of sympathy and concern I had never seen in her before.

I feel so bad for Cutie,” she kept saying. That’s her nickname for me. “What are you going to do?” she asked me time and again. I didn’t have an answer.

Has that ever happened to you? Where you just couldn’t hold it in anymore and the demons of negativity started beating you down?

“You’ll never make it,” they say.

“You’ve totally missed the mark, why keep trying?”

“If this was the right path, shouldn’t it be easier?”

Typically, if you’ve hung around with me much on this blog or you’ve worked with me before, you’ve experienced the opposite. I believe you can do anything you set your mind to and cheering you on makes me happy. In my core I see the potential and good in everyone.

But sometimes, it’s hard to believe the same for me. That’s the truth.

So today I’m just being honest with you and working some things through on paper. If you’re feeling confused, write THROUGH the emotions and figure out why. Asking questions help. These are core coaching concepts I work with my clients and use on myself too…let’s see where they go…ready to hear some inner dialogue? Keep reading.

Why am I feeling doubtful?

Since I opened my life coaching practice I have always had this HUGE vision to help moms live happier lives. I’m an intense person in general and having small goals just doesn’t work for me.

I remember researching publishing companies within weeks of opening my practice, because I knew I had to ‘see’ where I was going. What would be better, Namaste Publishing, or Hay House?

Conscious Parent CourseIt was then that I found Dr. Shefali Tsabary on the Namaste Publishing website. I pre-ordered her book The Conscious Parent and loved the concepts so much that I incorporated her theories into my life and practice, developed a friendship with her and wrote a companion workbook which was approved by Namaste for use in my Conscious Parent Course.

Great. Or not.

I loved what I was doing and I was making a little bit of money doing it. But my vision was bigger. I kept asking myself HOW can I reach more moms?

So I set out to writing my first book April O'Leary - Ride the waveRide the Wave: Journey to Peaceful Living in which I share my own personal transformation from frustrated at-home mom and how I was able to let go of much of my reactivity. I wrote it in a week (the first week I had to myself in ten years since becoming a mom) and shared it with my contact at Namaste. They weren’t interested. So I found a way to make it happen for myself and learned the art of self-publishing.

I continued coaching privately and knew that with a one-to-one practice I would severely limit my ability to reach thousands of moms with the strategies I shared in my book. This led me to creating the 13-01-13-uofmoms-header3University of Moms, developing some online courses and eventually to founding the Happy Mom Conference Happy Mom Conferencewhich ran in 2013 and 2014 providing educational talks and mom-focused vendors in an atmosphere of support.

Great. Or not.

I loved what I was doing and I was making a little more money doing it. But my vision was bigger and I had put a lot on myself. This was WAY more work than I had planned and it was taking WAY more tip.

Yes the vision persisted. How can I reach more moms?

Looking through the photos from the conference I saw moms who were thriving in direct sales and network marketing businesses. Their tables lined the perimeter of the room and suddenly I saw something I had never seen before.

Yes! Here are the moms I’ve been waiting to reach.

That year I took a complete shift in my entire business and rebranded my practice to help moms, like you, to build your home businesses, but more than that, to experience happiness and feel recognized and valuable as you did it.

Now that I’m writing this through I can see where the frustration is coming from. Isn’t that interesting.

I’m not an expert in network marketing. Yes I wrote a book with Jessica Higdon, and we hit the best-seller list just recently. The fact is, I’ve only just begun incorporating the network marketing model into my coaching practice as an added source of revenue.

What I am an expert in is life coaching. I love helping people navigate their personal challenges. I love helping them examine their core beliefs about themselves and their world around them. THAT is where I have had a major life change and THAT is where I can help you.

Yes I have learned about marketing along the way, but truly that’s not my goal. It’s a sideline skill you need to build any business.

BUT if you are unhappy in your life, becoming a top-earner in your company is not going to change that. I know plenty of women who have achieved that level of success and are no happier because of it. And the truth is, often it brings its own unique relationship challenges that need to be addressed.

Being out of alignment!

That is the core reason I was feeling doubtful. When you are out of alignment in your life, your emotions will alert you. It’s that simple. Don’t sweep them under the rug dig deeper (in writing) and find out why.

For me, today, those emotions of frustration were simply alerting me to dig deeper and now I have a choice.

You see how writing can take you places you might not have otherwise gone. I could have chosen to let my mind continue to spin tales all day long. Beating me up. Telling me I’m not going to achieve my dreams. Now I can choose to shift and embrace the journey and get back on my course.

It’s why The Katy Perry movie is my favorite movie of all time (and there are plenty of other real-life examples to support this concept). During her rise to fame she was told to be more like Avril Lavigne, and she kept saying, I just want to be Katy. When she stuck with it, despite her car being impounded and having no money magic eventually broke through.

All it takes is one connection. All it takes is persistence and staying the course. Someone will rise up to help you. I truly believe that. The universe will not let your dreams fall flat.

Yes, you’ll learn plenty along the way. Yes, you’ll doubt yourself. Yes, you’ll want to quit. Yes, you’ll see in others what you don’t see in yourself. And YES you’ll have to decide are you going to let frustration beat you down or will you stay the course?

For me. I’m staying the course.

Now I have to go wake up Molly and tell her I’m not quitting.


Each Child is Different, meet them where they are…

Each Child is Different, meet them where they are

Photo Credit: Victor Cristian Mitroi,

The oldest of my five children, Nick, who is twenty-seven, and my second son, Allen-Michael, twenty-one, could not be more different from one another. Because they were raised by the same mother I just assumed the boys would be more alike. Though it makes no sense to expect this since I now understand each child arrives in the world with his own temperament, sets of challenges, and lessons for us, and a unique destiny to pursue as well.

Over the past few years, having made the shift from thinking and “do-ing” my parenting from a place where I was in charge of the teaching of my children, to the daily practice of the concept of their teaching me has been the wildest, yet most enlightening/rewarding journey of my life.

When I let go of my expectations (even those I would not have verbally acknowledged) and simply met my sons where they were, my world opened up.

For instance, Nick has been challenged with addiction to alcohol. He has battled this disease (some days more so than others) since he was fifteen years old. Almost five years sober at this point, he doesn’t attribute his recovery to faith in God or any other Higher Power. If you ask Nick he will say his fear of going back to jail is what keeps him away from any bottle. Nick does believe in God, but doesn’t actively pursue a relationship through church attendance or in his everyday life. He was raised Catholic (I will admit, inconsistently), but doesn’t care to make time for spirituality or religion today.

Allen-Michael, on the other hand, who was also raised “inconsistently Catholic” has had an increasingly close relationship with God since his teen years. Calm and easy-going from the day he arrived in the world, he avidly pursues daily mass, mission work, feeding the homeless, and even contemplating the priesthood. Allen-Michael feels very strongly about the gospel and looks to the lives of Catholic saints as inspiration for his own.

It appears to be too early to tell what role faith and religion will play the lives of my youngest three children, but they continue to be raised in the same way by a mother who often verbally and through her actions places more value in the intuition of a higher calling and a purpose greater then oneself than on the structure of any denomination or book.

What I love most about the different ways in which my children approach life is their ability to show respect for, and tolerance of one another choices to take a path different from their own. Knowing, above all else, I have helped create an environment for that to happen in is very gratifying.

What do you say and do to foster a sense of individuality in your children?


The Essence of Conscious Parenting

Photo Credit:  ann_jutatip,

Photo Credit: ann_jutatip,

When we desire the thought of having children and then the Universe fulfills our wishes, most of us don’t realize the full commitment it takes in raising them after they are brought into this world. We talk about our desires so freely, scripting the play-by-play on how it will look and be once we have them. We have already planned out all of their years and framed them accordingly to meet our standards. They will do this and be that, they will do as I say (not as I do), they will know who’s boss and know their place, they will listen when I speak, they will not talk back, they will not be like the next door neighbor’s child, they will be better, more and the list goes on.

Anyone with a child (whether a parent, care-taker, guardian), knows these egoic patterned thoughts and beliefs all too well if they are willing to admit it. Yet, most don’t – for fear of shame, guilt, lack of acceptance, judgment and caring what other people think.

What I absolutely love, admire and respect about the brilliant work of Dr. Shefali Tsabary, author of The Conscious Parent, is her matter-of-fact yet authentic, truthful and insightful approach to how parents have been doing it all along from the conventional parental hierarchy mindset to a more conscious-minded parental approach – and how with just a shift in consciousness and more inner connectivity to ourselves, we have the power and the ability to recognize and to transform these patterned beliefs into empowering and life-changing ones, both for ourselves and ultimately for the benefit of our children.

So when our children are brought to us, we need to raise our level of consciousness to new heights to meet them where they are and what they have come here to teach us. We must release the grip on our ego and embrace our child’s essence, all while tapping into our own. It’s no longer about the wish but now about truly facing the raw reality and messages that our children have come to deliver.

Through our full on presence, daily connection – emotionally, physically and spiritually, our children’s presence awakens us to the core of our being (if we so let them) and to the point that we experience our own re-birthing, attending to the inner child within that was left behind for so many years. The inner child that needed the attention, validation, acceptance, love, connection – yet through life’s peaks and valleys – that child was no longer nurtured, covering its head and heart so it didn’t have to bare the pain any longer. That pain can remain sedentary for years and manifest through ones actions, behaviors, emotions, thoughts until one day it cries for help. It is through the practice of conscious parenting that we are given a gift to nurture and connect to our inner child so we heal those wounds and in turn what we ultimately project outwardly to our children is that of wholeness and abundance – allowing them to lead an authentic life that is true to their own essence and being.

So with each day, each new sunrise, and through the daily awareness of your own self, you will come to see your children not as an extension of you but as their own being?


Creating Healthy Boundaries for Ourselves and our Children

Mom and ToddlerI have always believed and subscribed to the thought that firm boundaries are an important aspect of life. Setting boundaries allow us to designate where our limits are and are not to be crossed. This can apply to all areas of our life – from children, relationships (family & friends), work environment to behaviors/tolerances, respect, acceptances and everyday encounters in today’s world.

If we have outlined healthy boundaries for ourselves and our lives, it goes without saying that these boundaries will translate easily for us as parents to our children and show up significantly in their lives too. But if we have not then much consideration to incorporating firm boundaries into your family dynamics is a must (in my opinion). Between my husband and I – I am definitely more of the one to set the boundaries for our little one. And as we know our different strengths as parents, the “laying of the land” usually falls more comfortably into my hands by default. This has definitely been one area in our daughter’s growth and development that continues to be “tried and tested” and it has come with many deep breaths, tears, upsets and gray-hairs to say the least but we have seen some significant changes recently and for her too. What I have learned in the little 3.5-years of her life and through my own parenting approach is that in order to create an effective outcome from the boundaries that are being set, I must continue to stay conscious of my “presentation” in communicating them to her so that she learns them with as little “noise” as possible coming from me – like frustration, raising my voice, etc. I’ve found that setting the firm boundaries before the anticipated episode (vs. during the meltdowns) is more effective.

Another absolute is consistency and follow-through. Parents cannot expect their children to adhere to the boundaries if they are ever-changing or if the child is not aware of when they are breaking the boundaries. Constant communication and “teaching moments” need to be at the front and center of every parent’s mind so their children value what they are being taught.

The Process of Laying a Limit – Laying limits firmly, yet from the heart is one of the most challenging things to do. It requires that we open our hearts to our children, deeply connecting to our own feelings and then, connecting to theirs. Once they see that we are fully present to our own authentic expression and theirs, we can lay the limit firmly, without guilt or doubt. But first we need to go within, check ourselves, ask ourselves what the limit means to us, why it is important, and then go ahead and lay it. When we do this inner work first, we are then coherent, consistent, and amply clear. Many of us lay limits willy-nilly and this is when they come back to bite us.Dr. Shefali Tsabary, author of The Conscious Parent

How effective have you been as a parent in setting boundaries with your children? With yourself?

Have you clearly communicated with your children what those boundaries are and if not, why not, what holds you back?


The Transformational Power and Evolution of Conscious Parenting

The Transformational Power and Evolution of Conscious Parenting

The Transformational Power and Evolution of Conscious Parenting

Photo Credit: Takver,

I became a first-time mother at the prime age of 39 (my daughter is now 3.5 years old) and find she is “raising” me in ways I never thought possible. Prior to becoming a mother, I had parenting all “mapped out” from how it would look and how it would “go” and to my surprise it was anything but what I expected. From having her four weeks premature to her very strong-willed and spirited personality, I had all my “ducks lined up” and thought with my “controlling ego” that so long as I was in charge it was all going to fall into place just fine. Now reflecting back, I can see that every part of my pregnancy journey happened exactly as it was meant to be – to better prepare me for what was yet to come when she actually arrived and my own birthing as a mother officially began.

I was about to embark upon a new paradigm shift / awakening to “grow myself up” in ways I thought I already had and see that my daughter was always destined to be called into my life so she could teach me how to grow my underdeveloped being into the mommy she needed me to become that of more ease and calm for our journey in life together.

Before becoming a mother, I would describe myself as follows: full-time career woman, always busy doing, set in my ways, very structured, anxious / anxiety, controlling, impatient, perfectionist, people pleaser, care what others think, black and white thinker, over-analyzer, hyper/intense personality, high expectations of myself and others, not in the present moment / future-based thinker, wanting to always be prepared and ten steps ahead, very fixed on my own expectations of parenthood.

Then after seeing Dr. Shefali Tsabary for the first time this past May on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday followed by her first Lifeclass show, I knew this was my official wake-up call from the Universe (bringing all my past experiences) including the birthing of motherhood to a higher calling. I began reading The Conscious Parent book and it continues to affirm that being right where I am in this very moment is where I am supposed to be – with my greatest teacher, my daughter, as my guide. Furthermore, I began doing some spiritual meditation / work to tap more into my essence and be more present, aware of my past conditionings, limited-self beliefs and behaviors so I could more consciously parent my daughter from a place she needed me to vs. stay stuck in my old ways. I came to recognize through Dr. Shefali’s work that anxiety, doing, control all go hand in hand and had never really looked at it this way before. This past June, I started this personal blog (The Conscious Parent) as a way to continue the conscious parenting conversation and provide a platform to journal (self-therapy) while helping others in return.

When my daughter turned one, I consciously quit my job to be home full time and although this was a blessing to have had the choice to make happen, at the same time it was a huge adjustment from being a career person and having a very structured routine to a non-structured routine and no longer in control of my day. It gave me new insight on how my own anxieties, preconceived beliefs, behaviors and restrictive ways were limiting my ease and enjoyment of motherhood at times and taking ownership of how I was contributing to burdening my daughter’s emotions more through my own frustrations. With my “A-type” personality style, I wanted to be so prepared in knowing it all (about motherhood that is) to be at ease and be steps ahead of my own anxiety at any given point (ego – need for control). Well that back-fired and created more frustration onto my daughter, who sensed my anxious and controlling energy) and when she didn’t fulfill my expectations that I had “planned out” in my head (ego – perfectionism, conforming) my inner tensions deepened.

So here is a glimpse at how I have grown along my conscious parenting journey (and continue to work on these matters of the heart) on a daily basis – while still realizing my unconsciousness can still get the best of me but being more quick to awakening my consciousness and staying present in my own emotions:

  • Developing my patience muscle and awareness to my emotions; pro-active in my thinking
  • Not caring what others think
  • Remaining open and flexible
  • Apologizing and admitting my faults to my daughter and others
  • Speaking more calmly
  • Walking away as needed / pausing before reacting during my child’s tantrums (which have scaled down immensely)
  • Recognizing my emotional triggers
  • Staying honest and vulnerable with my child about my own feelings, emotions, frustrations
  • Teaching / modeling more relaxed vs. anxious responses to my child
  • Re-emphasizing the importance of self-love and self-care
  • Taking more time for me (making me matter)
  • Understanding and empowering my child to do on her own that I know she is capable of – even when she wants to resist greatly
  • Staying consistently mindful of my language choice, tone, behaviors, responses, etc
  • See her and understand her own emotions – letting her have her emotions and upsets and go through her own process removing myself “personally” in the moment it occurs
  • Validating her own being through my words and affection
  • Talking to her after her meltdowns and moving on vs. holding a “grudge”
  • I am learning that as I stay true to my own feelings and remove ego (perfectionism) I can be honest with my daughter about my frustrations, she sees me not as “super mom” but more of a reality to her developing self – to accept her emotions as they come.
  • I am learning that my tolerance has grown (from the past 3.5 years), when I am faced with her melt-down days, I can get through them without letting my anxiety get the best of me and in my most available conscious awareness.
  • I am learning that my daughter needs to have her “off days” too so she can learn and grow through them for herself.

Conscious parenting is not about perfection nor is it about getting to an end-point as it’s a constant evolution of raising ourselves as we raise our children and teaching them as much as they are here to teach us first and foremost.” – Dr. Shefali


Unjunk Your Mind and Your Plate

Family Food Experts Radio Show

Food can be such a touchy topic for parents and kids.  How do you get your children to eat healthy meals when all they want is pasta with butter, chicken nuggets and pizza? Well that can be a difficult challenge, but not impossible to solve.  

Join me with Ellen Briggs, founder of Kid Kritics and Stacey Antine, founder of HealthBarnUSA as we talk about the mindsets that prevent us from taking good care of ourselves and our children. This interview is full of ideas, recipes and fun.  Listen in as we solve some of the challenges parents face everyday.

Click Here to listen in NOW! 


Clean Your Mind and Plate

To view full post and LIVE stream of broadcast please visit:

I’m super excited to let you know I have the privilege of being on the Family Food Experts Radio Show tomorrow.  Here is their fabulous description of this episode…

Do you sometimes feel stressed, frustrated, and resentful when preparing meals? Do you feel guilty when feeding you family junk food? This suggests that you are suffering from a junk-filled mind.  What messages are you feeding your brain when you put food on your family’s dinner plates? 

How do you feel when you send you kids to school after a breakfast of Pop Tarts? Then what happens in your mind when you skip breakfast, survive on coffee and cave in when doughnuts are offered at the office or wherever you work?  Is there a relationship between junk-filled thoughts and junk food?

April O’Leary, Certified Master Life Coach, Author and Speaker and the founder of the University of Moms will join co-host Stacey Antine RD (HealthBarn USA, Author: Appetite for Life) and Ellen Briggs (Founder, Author, Radio Host of Kid Kritics) in our Family Food Experts Kitchen to zoom in on how to unjunk your minds and meals. And we will fill your plates with fresh simple, nutritious recipes that give you the peace of mind you deserve!

Come into our Family Food Experts Kitchen this Thursday, October 3rd, 2013 at 1pm ET on W4WN and W4CY radio.  Call in LIVE to ask your questions at 561-422-4365. You will be so glad you did!

REPLAY: Sunday, 1pm ET, W4WN radio

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And don’t forget to register for our upcoming complimentary class: From Stressed to Calm in 2 Simple Steps.  It will take place by phone on Thursday, Oct 10 at 1pm EST/ 10am PST.  Click here to reserve your seat now and get all the call in details plus these 3 bonuses immediately upon registration:

1) Create Calm Activity
2) Chapter 1 of Ride the Wave: Journey to Peaceful Living
3) Lesson 1 of Focus on You: Your Needs Matter Too


10-Day Eat Clean Challenge

As summer is winding down and you look at those fading tan lines in the mirror do you find you’ve put on a few extra pounds from drinking, snacking and bbq-ing?  Do you want to feel better, have more energy and finally quit your addiction to caffeine and sugar?  If so, then I have a suggestion for you!

Join Casey Sollock, Holistic Health Consultant, on her 2nd 10-Day Eat Clean Challenge which starts August 10th…and the best part is, it’s free!  When you register you’ll get the chance to interact with Casey in a private Facebook group, she’ll give you shopping lists and recipes and endless encouragement and motivation.

Guess what?  I’m going to do it too!  So if you’re up for a challenge, if you want to look and feel better, if you want to learn how to shop and cook healthier or if you want to just set a good example for your spouse or kids, join in!  I am enlisting my whole family to participate.  To visit Casey’s website and register Click Here.

AND as part of being a member of the University of Moms or April O’Leary, Life Coaching YOU can talk to Casey and me LIVE this Friday, August 10th at 12pm EST/ 9am PST to ask your questions.  Join us as part of a free fun Friday giveaway.  To join in on the webcast CLICK HERE.