55 Transcript: The Art of Forgiveness and Choosing Happiness (Megan Tenney)

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J: You're listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 55.

M: I'm supposed to be forgiving and, on the other hand, I don't feel like I can. Like, I feel like it's beyond my control.

Intro: Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, stories of vibrant women living happy lives. And now, your host, Jen Riday.

J: Hey there, Jen here, and welcome back to Vibrant Happy Women; I'm so glad you're here. On our last 2 episodes, I shared my story of hitting an emotional rock bottom after a miscarriage and feeling really resentful and empty because I had given everything for helping my family and forgotten to take any time for myself. And I shared how is able to start scheduling more time for myself like yoga and walks and time in nature and book club and how that really helped. Well, if you want to take things to the next level, my program, Time Mastery for Women, is open this week until Thursday 11:59 PM Central Time. Time Mastery for Women is the complete A to Z system for creating time to pursue your passions, live your purpose, and leave a legacy. So as moms, we don't often think about leaving a legacy, but let me help you understand what that means. So imagine you're at the end of your life, you're on the mountain looking back at the path you've come throughout your life and you see your loved ones, maybe your spouse and kids, your siblings, your friends, your co-workers, whoever those loved ones are, ask yourself this, “What would they remember you for right now if, you know, your life ended this week? What would they remember you for?” After I hit my rock bottom, I knew my kids would remember me as empty and tired and grumpy and impatient. And thinking about my legacy, I didn't want that to be my legacy. I didn't want that to be the full picture of my life. What a tragic thing, right? So I vowed I was going to teach my kids how to be happy and to do that, I had to start taking care of myself and getting a grip on my time.


So Time Mastery for Women is your chance to figure out the priorities in your life, how you want to feel, what kind of person you want to be for those around you, and how to make your schedule line up with what you really want your life to look like. You want to make sure your time matches up with what's important to you. You want to make sure you really are being the person you want to be and leaving that legacy. Some of us feel like there might be something we were born to do or called to do; some of us just have no idea what we want to do. But Time Mastery for Women is your chance to figure that out, to get organized with your time and your life, and to start living a life that feels meaningful again. So you can go to timemasteryforwomen.com and learn more; we would love to have you. Enrollment ends on Thursday at 11:59 PM Central.

In today's episode, I'll be talking with Megan Tenney. She's a mom of 4 and she shares her story of learning to forgive and she shares some of her thoughts on life with 4 kids. So I love some of the things she shares like making time to vacation and do some of those important things. Megan is also one of my former Time Mastery for Women students so she shares a few of her thoughts about that program as well. So let's go ahead and dive in and hear about Megan's life and how she learned to forgive.

Hey there, everyone, welcome to Vibrant Happy Women and I'm Dr. Jen Riday and I'm talking with Megan Tenney today. Megan is the owner and author of shapinguptobeamom.com where the goal is, “Life easier, you happier.” Her mission is to help other busy moms achieve their goals while sharing her own adventures in parenting, fitness, travel, and checking off her bucket list. Born and raised on the shores of Maine, she relocated after college to the Arizona desert where she now lives with her husband and 4 kids, Carter, Vanessa, Harrison, and Melody. Welcome to the show, Megan.

M: Thanks for having me.

J: So we always start off the show with a quote, so what quote would you like to share with us today?

M: Okay, so when I was growing up, in my grandmother's bathroom, she had this plaque and it was… had kind of like a long poem on it, but the last line of the poem was, “Just remember, this too shall pass away,” and I would always read that when I was in her bathroom. And… and it's actually like an old Hebrew saying, I guess, and I don't know the Hebrew, but it's, “This too shall pass.” And I like it because it applies to both like good and bad situation. So if you're having a rough time, it helps you remember that like, “This isn't going to last forever. Good times are on the horizon.” And then if you're, you know, going through some really great times and you're, you know, having fun and experiencing all these good feelings, then it helps you remember to appreciate them because those also aren't going to last forever.

J: Right, just always are the ups and downs. Yeah, that's good, “This too shall pass.” So, well, take us then into a low point, you know, a time when you probably really needed to apply that quote.

M: Okay. So I've had a couple of low experiences. And so the one I'm actually going to talk about is not like the lowest of the low, but it kind of… you’ll kind of see how it leads into it. When I was going into college, my best friend from high school and I decided we were going to go room together; and so we did. We went to the same college and we shared a room, and we were really, really awful roommates; like, we just didn't mesh. She was super messy and I was really passive-aggressive and like it just didn't work out. And we… you know, after some fighting, like we recognized that and we were like, “Let's preserve our friendship and let's separate. You know, let's find different roommates.”

J: Mm-hmm.


M: And so we did. And it seemed like everything was fine and then it was like, all of a sudden, night and day, like she totally shut me out. And not just that, but then she went back to all of like our mutual friends and said that I had shut her out. And that… like saying that sounds so petty and so hateful.

J: Mm-hmm.

M: But it was devastating at the time. And that was… like that hurt a lot; it was a real struggle that I dealt with really for years because we still had these mutual friends. And there was even this one point in time where she contacted me, (this was several years later)… contacted me and was like, “Let's just be friends again.” And, you know, I was still kind of immature and didn't really understand forgiveness and so I… I was like, “Okay, after you apologize.”

J: Oh.


M: Yeah, I know, right? And it's like I wasn't trying to be bratty about it, but like I really felt wronged.

J: Mm-hmm.

M: And I was like… you know, I was like, “I know I wasn't perfect, but this… you did this,” and I'm like, “That's… that really hurt me and I need an apology,” and she wouldn't do it. And so I was like, “Alright, never mind.” (Laughs)

J: Oh! (Laughs)

M: And so we did not, you know, we do have not reconciled at the time. And then, actually through kind of not exactly the same, but there was another girl that came into my life that we were kind of… we worked together on a show and she just… she just took a disliking to me (Laughs), and it was kind of just nasty and manipulative. And I… I had a moment where I had to be like, “I'm going to take the high road here and I'm just going to be as nice as I can and see what happens.” And then like I kind of was in the space where I was like, “I know I'm not the problem, like I know that I'm being wronged here. I have other friends. I'm not a horrible person.”

J: Mm-hmm.

M: “But why does this keep happening to me?” you know?

J: Yeah.

M: And then later in life, you know, after I got married, I… my husband I went through a struggle that, you know, made those see him like nothing. And I kind of looked back and I kind of realized, “Oh, like I was being prepared for, you know, something a lot harder and I needed to learn how to forgive someone.” And so, you know, I could kind of look back and say, “Oh, that… you know, that's why I had to go through those experiences.” And, just to kind of wrap up that first story, I am friends again with my high school friend. (Laughs)

J: Ah, wow. How’d you do it?

M: Yeah. Well, I think it was after I had my first baby because by then, we were on Facebook, you know, way back when we're on Facebook and we had a lot of mutual friends and she reached out to me again. So I have to give her credit because both times she was the one to reach out, and she just reached out and said, “Congratulations.” I didn’t get like emotional about it.

J: (Laughs)

M: She was like, “Congratulations on your baby.” And I even said, “You know, I've been wanting to talk to you. I've been wanting to get back in touch with you.” And this time, like I was much more mature and I didn't feel like I had to say, “Well, but first, you have to apologize.”


M: You know, I was like, “No, I'm going to let that go and, you know, whether she was in the wrong or not, I… like, I want to have a relationship with her and I want to be friends again,” and so we did. And for a while, we never been talked about it and then she actually came out and visited and it came up. And I wasn't going to bring it up at all, I was just like, “We're friends, yeah!” And she kind of brought it up and we talked about it a little bit, but we were just like, “Yeah, we were young and dumb whatever.”

J: Mm-hmm.

M: And now we're friends so it's kind of great; so yay for forgiveness. (Laughs)

J: So you had those experiences with friends and then you had the marriage struggle, and we won't go into details…

M: Yes, uh-huh.

J: … because we all know every marriage has struggles. So you had this hard time in your relationship, let's talk more about that generally.

M: Okay.

J: So you're mad… you're mad at your husband for something and like how did you go through the forgiveness process with him?

M: Well, it took time. Like, I am… I have to give a lot of the credit just to letting time pass.

J: Mm-hmm.

M: Because, you know, the saying like, “Time heals all wounds,” like, you know, it doesn't heal everything. Every hurt is not going to ever, you know, be healed for good, but it certainly helps a lot. And the other thing is, you know, I know… and not everybody has the same belief system, but if you… you know, if you read the Bible, it says… we're commanded to forgive. And I struggled with that really hard because I would say, “Okay, so I'm supposed to be forgiving, and on the other hand, I don't feel like I can. Like, I feel like it's beyond my control.”

J: Mm-hmm.

M: “But if it's within… but if it's commanded of me, then it had to be within my control.” So like that was a really hard struggle for a long time and I think I just had to be more forgiving of myself and just take the time that I need it.

J: Mm.

M: And, you know, I got there.

J: Just a desire and then letting time pass and eventually, you felt like, “Okay, we're okay.”

M: Yeah. And like, if you… if you needed to forgive someone that like you didn't see every day, I don't know, maybe that'd be easier, maybe to be harder, but it's like when you're married to someone and you're committed to that person, like that kind of helps things along (Laughs). You know, like I'm not going to wake up every morning and be really mad at my husband, you know?

J: Right, right.

M: Like, I want to have a loving, happy relationship. So you… you know, you got to get over whatever hurt that you would inflict on one another.

J: Right, got to get over it. I love that; a quotable.


J: Well, so if you had to kind of boil it down to an ‘aha moment’ or something you learned from those struggles that you mentioned, what would it be?

M: I think it would be that your happiness is your own responsibility.

J: Mm.

M: That, you know, you can't depend on someone else to make you happy. You know, even now, I still… like if my husband's having a bad day, my mood tends to go south and I'm like, “Wait, like, you know, be nice to him, but don't let yourself get all sad just because he's down. You know, you have to, you know, rely on yourself to be happy.”

J: Yeah, I love that; your happiness is your own responsibility, perfect. Well, so what advice would you give to others who are… you know, there are so many relationships we all have where we have to forgive, maybe it's a parent or a sibling or, you know, I had someone to forgive recently because of politics; how shameful (Laughs).

M: Yeah. (Laughs)

J: So what advice would you have to someone who's struggling to forgive someone else or just to feel better toward another person?

M: Well, I would say like be easy on yourself, don't jump right to feeling guilty for having negative thoughts towards someone.

J: Mm-hmm.

M: You know, I think to a certain extent, we can have power over our own feelings, and to a certain extent, we can't. And I think, you know, feelings might just come to you like you get angry or you… you know, you feel guilty, but then you can like flame that fire… what's the term? Oh, fan the flames of the fire.

J: Fan the flames, yeah.

M: You know, you can fan the flames of that feeling or you can, you know, redirect your thought and try to focus on something else. So in a sense, you know, that kind of instinctual fight-or-flight response it's kind of out of our control, but then what we do with it after that really is within our control. It takes effort and it takes humility, for sure.

J: Oh yeah, that is so true (Laughs); it’s hard. I always have a very strong…

M: Yeah.

J: … initial reaction and then I have to talk myself down before I speak hopefully. (Laughs)

M: Yeah.

J: Well, tell us something about something that might be exciting you today or how you're living a vibrant and happy life today.

M: Okay. Well, I have a baby so like she's just kind of my focus right now because she's almost 6 months. And I do have the 3 bigger kids.

J: Mm-hmm.

M: So… and she's the last one.

J: Ah.

M: So I am just focusing on like just absolutely devouring every moment with her.

J: Aww.

M: You know, just taking in all the baby things because this is it for us. (Laughs)

J: That's so fun, and what's her name again?

M: Melody.

J: Melody, oh, that's a pretty name.

M: Yeah, we're both in music so our first daughter, we considered naming her Melody, and then we had a friend that was like, “Come on you guys, like that's… that's really obvious.”


M: And so we went with Vanessa, and then with our second girl, we’re like, “No, I think Melody's right this time around.” So…

J: Aww.

M: Yeah.

J: So what's it like? So how old is your oldest child?

M: So Carter is 8 and a half.

J: Okay. So I know a lot of listeners have a number of kids and, you know, might be moms or stay-at-home moms, would you call yourself a stay-at-home mom or would you say you're a blogger and a mom?

M: Oh, I would say I’m in… I'm in everything. (Laughs)

J: Ah. What else do you do?

M: Okay, so I actually have a part-time job. My father owned the software company and I'm his bookkeeper, business manager, payroll, invoicing, every other thing he wants to throw my way kind of person. And my parents live about 15 minutes away. So 2 days a week, the big kids go to school and then I take my 2 little kids; and I've actually been doing this since my oldest was born. And my mom watches my kid so it's actually like… it's a perfect… I'm very, very blessed to have that situation.

J: Yeah.

M: You know, to have my mom providing the childcare and I'm with them all day, you know, I'm focusing on work, but they're right there.

J: Mm-hmm.

M: And like I nurse the baby so, you know, I know I'm right there within arm's reach when she needs me.

J: Oh, that’s good.

M: And I've been doing that for, yeah, going, well, 9 years or more. I mean, I've worked for my dad for about 15 years I think.

J: Wow, that’s so cool.

M: But, yeah, with kids and everything, so I work about 15 to 20 hours a week on that. So I have like an actual out of the house part-time job.

J: Mm-hmm.

M: And then I have the whole mom thing with the 4 kids, and then I have my blog which I spend as much or as little time as I have, you know, to spend on it. I also… my degree is actually in musical theater; I know, random.


M: My husband and I met as theme park entertainers; so that's fun little nugget of information. (Laughs)

J: Wait a minute, back up, let’s hear about this. Theme park entertainers, tell us about that. (Laughs)

M: Yeah.

J: That is so cool.

M: Okay, so…


M: So he studied music education, I studied theater education and musical theater. And when… while I was a freshman in college and I… so I grew up in southern Maine, I went to University of New Hampshire and there was a theme park nearby that I grew up going to. And even my mom remembers when it started as like a hotdog stand and some batting cages and then it's… now, it's like the biggest theme park in New England.

J: Oh nice.

M: Yeah. And so I grew up going there and then when I was in college, they started… they advertise that they were holding auditions for entertainers to do like some singing and dancing review… musical revue type shows.

J: Uh-huh.

M: So I auditioned and then I… I got in and I did that first summer after my first year of college. And then the next summer, my husband had auditioned at a theme park out in Arizona where he was born and raised, and it was the same company that would travel around from theme park to theme park and set up the entertainment and then move on to the next. So it was the same company that he auditioned for and they sent him out to Maine for the summer.

J: Oh.

M: And I was the one who picked him up at the airport. (Laughs)

J: It was meant!

M: It was meant to be, yeah!

J: (Laughs)

M: So we worked together and then we spent another year, you know, living on opposite sides of the country, got engaged on New Year's that year and then… then we did a… it was my 3rd summer, his 2nd, we performed together again when we were engaged and then after, at the end of that summer, I moved out to Arizona and we got married.

J: Mm-hmm.

M: And that's that story. (Laughs)

J: So… so do you remember the songs used to sing for that?

M: Well, yeah. So we did… every summer, we had 2 musical shows and then a kids show…

J: Uh-huh.

M: … which is not really good and embarrassing. I've got those videos…

J: (Laughs)

M: … to show our children.

J: I'm sure you guys just break out into song all day long, right?

M: Well, he's a choir teacher so…

J: (Laughs). I love it! Your life is a musical. (Laughs)

M: It basically is. And it's so funny because, when I was a lot younger, when I was like, you know, a freshman in high school, I used to say, “Oh, I want a… I want a husband who will sing and dance with me.”

J: (Gasps) No way.

M: And I got it. (Laughs)

J:No way; I love it.

M: Yeah, I definitely got that.

J: (Laughs)

M: But so he… I was talking about the things that we do. Yes, so I was a musical theater major and now I'm on the board of directors at a local theater.

J: Mm-hmm

M: And sometimes direct shows there, sometimes perform in shows there. My husband writes musicals and sometimes he writes shows and directs and performs in them, and he has 4 or 5 different show choirs now. It's like every year he's taught, they've added a choir because there's so many kids interested in this program, and I go in and I do their choreography.

J: Oh.

M: So vlogging, my part-time job for kids, choreography, theater, and occasionally I sleep…

J: Oh, wow.

M: … every once in a while I sleep a little bit. (Laughs)

J: Well, so how on earth do you balance all of that? You know, I mean, I hear all the time that women feel like they're crazy busy, so how do you cope with all of those things on your plate without feeling crazy?

M: Oh, I do feel crazy so (Laughs)… I just do the… well, I think part of it is, I love all of it. So it's not like, “Oh, I have this job and I have this chore,” like it's all stuff I want to do. And that is the struggle because I would love to have more free time. And in fact, I'm taking next year off from choreographing because I said, “I just… I need a break.” And I really should have taken this year off with the baby, but we didn't think that far ahead. So…

J: Oh yeah.

M: I’m going to take next year off and have a little more free time…

J: Mm-hmm.

M: … and just kind of, you know, see if that's something that I want to go back to, and maybe take a step back from the blog and it's just… you kind of just have to take things as they go along and sometimes you're interests change and sometimes you'll leave something to come back to it.

J: Mm-hmm.

M: You know?

J: Yeah, finding that balance.

M: Yeah, it's hard to do.

J: Well, so what's something you currently struggle with, if anything?

M: If anything did you say? (Laughs)

J: Yeah. Oh, okay, fine; sorry.

M: (Laughs)

J: Okay, that was dumb, I know; I know we struggle. (Laughs)

M: No, I just want to be like, “Nope, I don't struggle with anything.”


M: Let's see. Well, everything. Yeah, I guess stress because I always feel like I'm doing the next thing that's on the list. And actually in your course that I just took that I think we're going to talk about a little bit, Time Mastery for Women, I loved at the beginning when you had kind of a series of questions to help determine your priorities. And one of the questions you asked that was the one that left the most, you know, lasting impact on me was the one that said, “At the end of your life when you turn around and you look back, what do you want to have done or what do you want people to remember you for?” And that made it so clear for me like, “Family, that's my absolute first priority,” and then, you know, the other things come after that. And so going through that course helped me to say, “This is my first priority, and then like this other thing, theater and vlogging, these are priorities, but they're not ahead of family and they're not ahead of my health and they're not ahead of, you know, having a few minutes to myself every day,” and that has really helped me as I go through the day. Like, sometimes if the baby's just kind of playing with her toys, I'm like, “Oh, okay, I can… I can get on my computer and get something done,” and then a lot of times I'm like, “No, I'm going to get down with her and I'm just going to give her 10 minutes of my time and I'm going to look into her eyes and I'm going to, you know, give her her rattle and I'm going to tell her I love her and I'm not going to apologize for it. I am going to just breathe her in and just enjoy that time to the absolute fullest.”

J: So a lot of women get totally stuck with their to-do lists and, yeah, they do feel guilty for stuff like that. What helped you to get past that?

M: I think just recognizing that she's growing up and my other kids, you know, my son was 8, I'm like… well, he's almost 9, and I'm like, “You're halfway to 18! Like, you're halfway to not being mine anymore; you know, you're… you're going to go off into the world.” And I don't want to get to a point where I look back and I'm like, “I didn't spend time with my kids; you know, I was too busy going through my emails,” like that would be a huge regret if I got to that point. So that's why… you know, I still do the emails and I still clean the kitchen, but when the baby's up and she's playing, I give myself 100% clearance to stop everything and go play with her.

J: That's great. Well, so you mentioned my program, Time Mastery for Women, well, thanks for that.

M: Mm-hmm.

J: So, if you don't mind, that program is actually open right now until March 30th so, yeah, I'm sure some of our listeners might be interested to know what you liked about it and you could share some of your thoughts or…

M: Yeah.

J: … fun things about it.

M: For sure.

J: That’d be great.

M: Okay, yeah. So like I mentioned, I loved right at the start you define your priorities and that's kind of, you know, the basis for the rest of the course when you're going through and you're kind of deciding, “Well, how do I want to spend my time?” you look back and you say, “These are my priorities, well, that's how I'm going to spend my time.” So I really liked that and I… literally, every day, I'm… think back and I'm like, “Well, family is my first priority so I'm okay spending my time on this and neglecting this other thing because I know, you know, I'll spend some time on that some other time.”

J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

M: And then, you know, you provided us with a lot of templates. So one is called ‘the week at a glance’ which I've started using every week; it helps me just kind of block out my time and just literally, at a glance, I can see, “Okay, what am I doing this week?” and… and, “This time is always drop-off and this is always pickup and this is… these are my chunks of time when I am actually available to plug in those tasks that I need to do.” So there's a whole bunch of those templates that I'm using. Even before the course, I was wanting to set up a meal plan system where it was like, “Okay, here is a planned out week of meals and all the groceries I need for it,” and I just stick that somewhere, and when it's time for groceries, I… you know, I grab that or… and I have 4 of the; so every week, you know, I do. And that's one of the things that you talked about in the course is, you know, getting… making meal planning easier. So that's kind of like lit a fire under me to actually do that; get that done.

J: Mm-hmm.

M: And then like just some of the mantras that… I don't know if you'd even refer to them as mantras, but I do (Laughs). And you like to say, “Forward is perfection…”

J: Mm-hmm.

M: “… because we never get to perfect.” Like, I’m never going to finish the laundry; I might for 30 seconds, but…

J: Right. (Laughs)

M: You never finished, you're never done and you're never… you never get to a point where like, “Alright, I think I'm as good as I can get,” no; like no one's ever going to say that.

J: Mm-hmm.


M: And so the phrase, “Forward is perfection,” is like… I say it out a lot to myself like, “As long as we're moving in the right direction, as long as I'm, you know, doing the things I'm supposed to do, then I can feel good about it; so I really, really like that.

J: Awesome. Well, thanks for sharing that. So I'm hearing that you kind of were able to let go of perfectionism and guilt a little and do more of what you love to do, like spend time with your daughter.

M: Yeah, yeah, I think so.

J: Yeah, that's cool. Well, so I remember years and years ago when I created that ‘week at a glance’ and I realized, “Oh my gosh, look at all this stuff I was trying to fit in this week and it doesn't fit.” (Laughs)

M: Yeah.

J: You know, I think it was eye-opening for me to say, “Oh, my time is way more limited than I thought and I really do want to put those priorities first.” So…

M: Yeah. You know, once upon a time, a few weeks ago… well, sorry, no, like a year ago or so, my husband and I were talking about housework and, you know, he kind of couldn't understand. You know, he's like, “I go to work for 6 hours, you know, what do you do?” you know, “Why isn't all the housework done?”

J: Ooh.


M: And, you know…

J: Yikes, that’s fighting words. (Laughs)

M: And like… I know, right? And it's like it's a perfectly legitimate question because he's not home all day and he doesn't see all the things that I do, but on the other hand, I'm like, “Watch yourself. First of all…” you know, I knew that I didn't just sit around all day.

J: Mm-hmm.

M: You know, so I was kind of baffled too. I was like, “Yeah, why isn't everything done? Because I… I'm not just sitting around all day.” And so I started kind of like logging my time.

J: Mm-hmm.

M: And it… as it turns out, you know, I wasn't spending hours upon hours of housework, but I was spending hours upon hours of household management, you know, like getting kids to school, getting kids back from school, signing field trip forms and budgeting and all of these little things that were not mopping the floor…

J: Right.

M: … but was just managing the household. And it was just hours, it was… it was probably, you know, 500% more than any of the other categories of things that I was doing at least.

J: Whoa, whoa!

M: It was it was way more than anything else, you know. Blogging and theater and even my part-time job didn't compare so just running the household.

J: Well, so did ‘the week at a glance’ help you fix that in any way or just help you know where your time was going, or how did that fit in with that?

M: I think the biggest kind of eye-opener I had there was, between the hours of 3:00 PM and 6:00 PM, I shouldn't try to get anything done.

J: Ah, yeah.

M: Because that's when all the kids are home.

J: Mm-hmm.

M: And, you know, you got to get dinner on the table, and if I'm trying… I mean, there's… it's just silly to try to focus on anything during that time.

J: Mm-hmm.

M: So, you know, I do use the time after they're in bed. My kids actually go to bed pretty early and we have bedtime down; we've nailed bedtime.

J: Nice.

M: So, yeah. (Laughs)

J: I’ve never heard of that before, what do you do? (Laughs)

M: So our kids, we've always kind of had them go down early because, you know, they'll wake up tired in the morning if they don't.

J: Mm-hmm.

M: And my husband started doing book in bedtime. So half an hour before bedtime is booking bedtime, so everybody to get PJs on, they get their teeth brushed and they get in bed with a book and they read for 30 minutes. And…

J: Oh, that's good.

M: Yeah, my 3-year-old that doesn't read yet looks at a book, and sometimes we're like, “Yeah, he can have a Kindle; he’s just a little one,” and, you know, so that usually starts at 7 o'clock, and at 7:30, lights out. And we don't, you know, we'll… if they're like, “We need a drink of water,” you get one drink of water.

J: Mm-hmm.

M: But we don't do, you know, “I need this song and I need 5 hugs and a kiss and I need this book read by this parent and then this parent has to do a dance and…” you know, we just don't… we don't do that; we read for 30 minutes, lights out.

J: Yeah, you have a boundary; a good boundary.

M: Yeah.

J: Good for you.

M: Yeah, yeah.

J: Good for you.

M: So we're not so strict; like our kids aren't deprived. But when it comes to bedtime, like, yeah, it's lights out at 7:30.

J: Nice. Well…

M: Yeah, we got that down.

J: Good for you. I mean, so many parents struggle at that time, and I like that; book… ‘book in bed’, is that what you call it?

M: Yep, ‘book in bed’ time.

J: Book in bed.

M: And then bedtime. (Laughs)

J: Perfect. And then you get mommy time and daddy time! (Laughs)

M: Oh, yes, mommy time! It’s the best time.

J: Okay, let's break into song now, “Da…”


J: Go ahead, you were going to say something.

M: Well, we've just recently started adding some specific chores. Like, we've always kind of said, you know, “If I need you to do something, I'm going to ask you do it you're going to do it,” but just recently, actually, (maybe it came from your course because it was since doing your course), 6:30 is short time; so our evenings are actually pretty structured now. There's always things that'll break it up like Carter goes to scout and so that night he’s up a little later, but generally speaking, dinner at 6:00, chores at 6:30, ‘book in bed’ time at 7:00, bedtime at 7:30.

J: Awesome.

M: And then mommy time! (Laughs)

J: Awesome. Well, gosh, thanks for hyping up my program. I'll let people know that they can learn more about it at timemasteryforwomen.com; appreciate that Megan.

M: Mm-hmm.

J: You were my… one of my favorite students because you were always…

M: Oh, thanks.

J: … doing the course so fast and saying, “Done! Done!”

M: Oh, I just couldn’t get enough of it. I know, and I…

J: And every lesson, you were in the Facebook group saying, “I finished!” you were… I think you loved being the first. (Laughs)

M: I know, it got… it got embarrassing. It would be like, “Megan, maybe wait till the end of the day to post something.”


M: Like, I literally… the first week you post, you had it all up at once, and in the second week, you're like, “I'm going to do one per day,” and I was like, “No! I want to do it all!”

J: Well, it's so funny because, as I was uploading those videos for the lessons each day, I thought, “Megan’s probably waiting for this.”


M: That is hilarious; yeah, I definitely was.

J: Oh my gosh.

M: I think I was just… I was ready for it, you know, I was prepared and I was ready to have to take this stuff and get my life organized; I was just ready to be the star student. (Laughs)

J: You were, you did it; good job!


J: Well…

M: I'm still working on my email though; I will tell you that. I've gone through hundreds though, but… and I'm getting very close to inbox 0; I'm very close.

J: Oh, yeah, yeah, you're… so you're talking about lesson… module 1, lesson 5, it's getting to email inbox 0, so…

M: Yeah.

J: Yeah. Okay, so how many emails have you…?

M: When you’re a blogger, I mean…

J: Oh, you have thousands, I’m sure.

M: You know, you just… yeah, they just don't stop. So… and I'm a hoarder so I can't just be like, “Oh, I'll just delete everything from 2014 and back,” you know? (Laughs)

J: Right. (Laughs)

M: So I'm like, “I have to go through every single one.”

J: Good for you.

M: But, yeah, I'm getting; I’m getting there.

J: Good for you; that's awesome. Well, let's talk about a few of your favorite things.

M: Alright.

J: So what's a favorite habit that has contributed to your success?

M: Oh, well, I don't know if this has contributed to my success, its contributed to my sanity, but I take a bath every day; almost every day.

J: Hmm, nice.

M: I just… that's how I like to relax in the evening. And especially since we cut bedtime down, I do have that time, you know, in the evening and I just like to relax in the bathtub with a good book and I do it almost every day.

J: Do you have special bath salts or oils that you like to use.

M: I have… yeah, yeah, I've got… not like a certain brand or anything, but, yeah, I definitely have.

J: Mm.

M: Bath salts, bubble bath. (Laughs)

J: Oh, wow! You're living the life, Megan; you've got it figured out!



J: And your favorite easy meal.

M: Does the dry food count?

J: Sure, sure.

M: (Laughs). I’m kidding. I'm… okay, I have some skills, but they don't extend into the kitchen; I wish they did. I'm trying to get better, but I am just not (Laughs). I grew up on, you know, takeout so my parents were not big cook; I am not a big cook. But I end up… like I said, with the meal planning, I'm actually doing better. So I love my crock pot; I do a lot of crock pot meals. Oh, something I like to do to kind of like use up the groceries, you know, be more efficient is… so I make a pasta meal with, you know, a jar of marinara sauce and I use maybe of the marinara sauce, and then another night, I'll do English muffin pizzas and I'll use the leftover sauce.

J: Oh, that's smart; okay.

M: So, yeah. (Laughs)

J: Efficient and easy, I love it.

M: Yeah.

J: And your favorite kitchen gadget.

M: Probably the crock pot.

J: Mm-hmm.

M: You know, I have… I actually won a… what’s it called, a Vitamix?

J: Mm-hmm.

M: Like this like $500 blender or so. (Laughs)

J: Wow!

M: I know. I'm like, “I don't know why this blender’s $500,” but it… it is, I guess, it's what it… that's what it's worth, and it's still sitting in a box in my garage.

J: (Gasps) Oh! Travesty! (Laughs)

M: And I want to take it out… I know, I need to take… I have like an old blender that I should just get rid of I guess, but I need to learn how to use it; maybe that'll be my new favorite…

J: Okay.

M: … kitchen gadget.

J: You know, you can even make hot soup in… in a Vitamix?

M: Yes!


J: Yeah!

M: I should do that. (Laughs)

J: That's so great. I guess you could sell it at least, you know? (Laughs)

M: I think I want it.

J: Yeah, why not? Your favorite book.

M: Okay, so I have 2.

J: Okay.

M: So the first one is maybe a little cliché because everybody… it’s kind of trendy, but ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’…

J: Mm-hmm.

M: … by Marie Kondo. A lot of people have read it recently, but it's the one that's like, “Get rid of all your stuff.”

J: Yeah. Okay, wait, wait… okay, Megan, I remember…

M: I know what you're going to say!

J: (Laughs)

M: I know what you're going to say! (Laughs)

J: Okay, okay. Well, you need to tell us because everyone needs to go read this blog post; it's too cool.

M: Oh my goodness. Okay, so I shouldn't say the book is about getting rid of all your stuff because actually, it's about keeping the best of the best.

J: Okay.

M: Keeping the stuff that when you look at in your house, like it makes you feel good. And, you know, we all have stuff like that, but then we have a billion other things.

J: Mm-hmm.

M: So the idea is, “Get rid of all this stuff that you really don't need, that you're just holding on to for whatever reason; because you paid money for it, because it was a gift, but you don't really love it, or you think you'll use it someday. Just get rid of it all.”

J: Mm-hmm.

M: And it's hard to do, but… okay, so this is what I knew you were going to…


M: I took her advice and I went through… I found every single piece of clothing because she says, “When I go to a client's house and we do this with their clothes, if they miss something, they have to throw it away later.” So there… she was like, “You find every single piece of clothing,” and so I did. I went through my… I got… pulled everything out of my closet, pulled everything out of my dresser, I went into the garage and I got like bins of clothes. And I was… this was after baby 3 and before baby 4, so I had maternity clothes. I had clothes from size 4 to size 18; like, I had everything.

J: Mm-hmm.

M: And maybe even a few costumes in there; who knows?


M: So I dumped everything in the living room floor, and I held a little contest on my Facebook page, see who could guess how many pieces of clothing I owned. And the final count I think was like exactly 600…

J: (Gasps) Oh.

M: … or something like that. I know; just obscene (Laughs). So… and that's just mine; that's not 4 kids’ worth of the clothing, that's just Megan Tenney’s clothes. (Laughs)

J: So you're doing the Marie Kondo thing. So you're picking up each piece of clothing and deciding how it made you feel, so how many did you let go of?

M: Oh man, it's in the blog post; I don't even remember. Because then I discovered LuLaRoe and I’ve just been buying more clothes; it's bad. But I did like a preliminary thing where I just did kind of like my first instinct like, “Definitely keep, maybe don't keep,” or, “Definitely get rid of that.”

J: Mm-hmm.

M: And so then I had a whole pile yard and then I'd do it again. I mean, I got rid of hundreds.

J: Oh my gosh.

M: And then more recently, you know, since I'm done with babies, I got rid of my maternity clothes because I had to put those in the garage at the time, but I need to do it again, let’s just say that.

J: So, everyone, you've got to read this blog post; it is phenomenal. So that's on your blog at Shaping Up To Be A Mom, and is there a way they can search for that?

M: Yeah, I think it's called my KonMari closet.

J: Oh, okay.

M: She called it the KonMari Method, which is K o n M a r i. So I have a search bar on my site, so if you go to shapinguptobeamom.com, you can just search for ‘closet’ or ‘600 pieces of clothing’.


M: And I'm sure it'll show up in the search result.

J: Yeah, I’ll also put a link on our show notes page at jenriday.com/55. So just remember 55, jenriday.com/55, and look for ‘Shaping Up To Be A Mom KonMari closet’; I’ll have the link there. So you were going to mention a second book, what was that one?

M: Oh yeah. Okay, so the second one is called ‘Happier’ and it's by Tal Ben-Shahar, and it's all about… he actually taught a college course on happiness and it's all about his research on how to be happier. And the thing that I like is kind of his definition of how the best way to feel happy has kind of really always stuck with me and it's how I kind of try to… you know, if I was like, “Oh, I need to feel happier,” I would go to these 2 things. And so he basically says there are people that only focus on the present and they do, you know, whatever it takes to make them feel good right now, whether that's a bacon cheeseburger or sitting around watching TV or whatever it is (something that makes them feel good right then and there) and then they don't plan for the future.

J: Mm-hmm.

M: And so they don't plan to be happier in the future. And then there's people that kind of… they only plan for the future and they kind of deprive themselves at the moment. You know, they eat a whole salad or they work really hard and they never take a vacation and it's all first someday down the road. And he said the… you know, the happiness formula is to try to get both of those things; to do something that will… ideally one thing that will benefit you now and will benefit you later. So, you know, maybe that's working out and you get the endorphins and you get the better body later on down the road or maybe even 2 different things, you know, like, “Today, I'm going to take a bath because it makes me feel good right now.”

J: Mm-hmm.

M: “And I'm also going to get my finances in order so that, you know…”

J: Yeah.

M: “… somewhere down the road, I… I don't run out of money.” So it’s kind of like…

J: “So I'll have a bathtubs someday down the road.” (Laughs)

M: Exactly, yeah! And you can buy a bubble bath.

J: (Laughs). What's the best advice you've ever received?

M: My mom always says the Golden Rule, “Treat others the way you want to be treated,” feel like that just kind of sums it up.

J: Mm-hmm, that's perfect.

M: Yeah.

J: And let's go to your happiness formula; my favorite part of the show. If you had to create a 3 to 5 part formula of actions make you really happy, what would that include?

M: Okay. So I am happiest when I'm being productive, and that can… that can mean a lot of different things. Like, that can mean literally working on something or even I feel like if I'm on the floor playing with my baby, like I'm helping her grow into a well-adjusted person and I'm… I'm keeping true to my priority of family; so I would even include that as being productive.

J: Mm-hmm.

M: Finding the right balance between working hard and relaxing. So being productive, planning a trip.

J: Ooh.

M: Because I love… we love to travel. And that's that half of the happiness equation is having something to look forward to in the future.

J: Mm-hmm.

M: So when I'm being productive, you know, day-to-day, planning a trip for some time in the future, and ending the day with a bath and a good book like we talked about. (Laughs)

J: Oh! You have so got it figured out.

M: (Laughs)

J: Let's all follow Megan's advice. Okay, everyone, go do something productive; check, I mean we all do that. But plan a trip and take a bath with a book.


J: And a challenge for our listeners.

M: So I was going to challenge them to plan a trip.

J: Ooh!

M: It doesn't have to be Disneyworld, doesn't have to… you don't have to get on a plane, it could be to the other end of town to a restaurant you've never been to before, but just having that, you know, event to look forward to in the future, it's been proven like scientifically that when you're anticipating something, it makes you feel good; and sometimes even more so than the actual event itself.

J: Yeah, that's pretty smart advice. So, yeah, other side of town or you could go on a flight, you know? You know, Megan, there's one other thing I know about you that's pretty sweet is, you go back to Maine every summer; tell us about that.

M: So I grew up in Maine, yeah, born and raised in Maine. And my husband was born and raised in Arizona and we live in Arizona, which is fantastic, you know, 9 months of the year.

J: Mm-hmm.

M: In Maine, it’s fantastic 3 months of the year.

J: Yeah.

M: So our ultimate goal is to be snowbirds. We want to have a summer house in Maine and come back to Arizona, you know, depending on where our kids all end up, maybe somewhere else. But, yeah, so we actually haven't gone every summer; we've gone… we're going this summer. We went 3 years ago we, went 3 years before that and then like 2 years before that.

J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

M: Actually, we realized the other day that each of our kids has gone to Maine the first summer after they were born.

J: Aww.

M: So they were all kind of… you know, like my… my third was a whole year old and my first daughter was only 5 months because she was born in February. So… but, yeah, we're going back to Maine and we're driving because it’s 6 of us. It's… you know, flights are really expensive and we like to have our car there. We actually have an Airbnb for 4 week there.

J: Nice!

M: So we're sticking around for a while.

J: Yeah.

M: So it's fun for me because I grew up on the beach and Arizona is a landlocked state, so I like to show my kids the ocean and, you know, where I grew up.

J: Well, yeah, I've learned this about Megan because she kind of posted her year at a glance; it's something from the Time Mastery for Women program.

M: Mm-hmm.

J: And I think, Megan, didn't you have 2 trips a year or how did that go?

M: I think what I had was, I said trip to Maine in the summer on the odd years because I'm hoping at this point now, we could go every other year.

J: Mm-hmm.

M: And then I think what I put was Disneyland in the even years. (Laughs)

J: Yeah! I thought, “This is perfect!”

M: Because we went in November one year and… with our 2 oldest, and it was just a perfect time to go because it was the weekend before Thanksgiving so it's one of their actually slower times. And… but the Christmas decorations were up, the weather was gorgeous, and we took the kids out of school so we could go on school days so it wasn't as busy.

J: Ah.

M: So we're like… you know, and we're in driving distance; it only takes 5 hours for us to get to Disneyland, we're kind of spoiled like that. So… (Laughs)

J: Well, Megan, you're totally living a vibrant and happy life; I can hear it. You're making time for the baths, you're planning the trips, and you letting go of perfectionism and guilt. So, well done, I'm so glad you could be on the show with me; I really appreciate it. Thanks for being on the show, Megan.

M: Well, thank you so much.

J: I love what Megan shared about vacationing. You know, a 4 week vacation is pretty impressive for the US. In Europe, they vacation that way in many places, but in the US, you know, 1 or 2 weeks max, but Megan has it figured out. It helps that her husband is a teacher so they can do that, but take Megan's challenge and plan a trip; it just gives you something to look forward to and it's a lot of fun. On our next episode, I'll be talking with Orly Wahba. Now, she created a viral video that you might have seen. It has a construction who helps a little boy and then the little boy helps someone and then it's just this chain reaction of kind events; and it goes all the way through to the end where a waitress ends up handing a glass of water to that exact same construction worker. Now, I hope this jogs your memory because I remember seeing this video on Facebook, and then to get to interview the creator of the video was so fun. So Orly is the founder of Life Vest Inside and her whole movement is about kindness and spreading the word about being kind. So Orly is a bundle of energy, she totally touched my heart sharing her story. She used to be a middle school teacher; and if that doesn't tell you something about her, nothing will. She was a middle school teacher for 7 years and taught those kids how to be kind and then took it all forward; so you're going to love that interview. In the meantime, don't forget that Time Mastery for Women is open only through the end of day Thursday this week. Time Mastery for Women is your chance to declutter your schedule, regain control over your life and time, and to start leaving that legacy that you want to leave. Remember, how do you want your loved ones to remember you; tired and grumpy or empowered and loving life? So, again, check that out at timemasteryforwomen.com. Enrollment ends Thursday. Make it an amazing week and I will see you next time. Take care.

Outro: Thanks for listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast at www.jenriday.com.