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My Self-ish Summer

Updated: Aug 29, 2023



Today is the last Friday of the summer for us. It's funny, I've been looking forward to getting back to a schedule since day one. I complained that it felt like quarantine all over again, with the horrible exception that we would be allowed to leave the house, thereby making more work for me.


So, this morning, when I woke up at an unusually acceptable hour (we've all gotten good at sleeping in), I was thinking about this and my brain said "this has been a completely SELFLESS summer for you, Katie Barnett."


I thought about that for a bit. I love my work, I love my team, my customers and clients, leading, and training. I care for those who consume my content and I feel responsible for making sure I stay consistent for them. I adore sharing the products I do, helping others live cleaner, healthier lives. I get great joy out of helping my clients strategize and actualize their dreams, from photography to branding, media growth to courses, and simply accepting their dreams and hopes for the future as possible, helping them see they are worthy and capable. I love running my own podcast and getting to work with and share so many incredible leaders across all industries. I love the podcast I'm launching next month with Leon Media Agency, I love that I can see the path of my purpose finally being made.


I felt wholly prepared for the summer and being able to continue my workload.


Then reality...


On day 3 or 4 of this summer, I realized that despite my best efforts to prepare, I was in deep sh*t. Like, for real. People say all the time that parenting doesn't get easier, it just gets different. My 6, 9, and 11-year-olds are no less needy than when they were all under 6. In fact, they were far easier to bribe and entertain back them, they even took these beautiful things called naps. I could work with them on my hip, or in my lap, and give them a Barbie, a dinosaur, a Lego shark, or a sucker if it came to that, to stay occupied.

Me, using the Ranch Dressing as a pillow at witching time, with three under 6.

*Moms of littles, I'm exaggerating in a big way, I know it's brutal and taxing. If you are running any kind of business or working at all, you're a superhero. Just like how we forget the difficulty of pregnancy and childbirth (I actually haven't forgotten the childbirth part at ALL...yet), I know that the scope of work I do now would have been much harder when my children were little.

But I digress...





At these current ages, they should be able to make a sandwich, figure out what to do when they're thirsty, or wait a few minutes while I work before HAVING to show me a youtube about a dying dog that is "so cute, and still happy," which literally just happened...just right now. They really don't seem to care at all about my business, and that's ok, because my biggest job is them. I honestly did think they'd let me work at least a little this summer though.


I'm not sure why they don't care, or why my kid JUST NOW came back into my room after I told him "the dog was cute, I'm glad it got to go to the beach one last time but I needed to work today so PLEASE give me an hour..." to show me another video of a girl slapping water with a sausage and getting a giant fish to jump out and eat it. Why, dude? Why??????


It's not worth trying to figure out. There are only a few days left of summer, and my work life will go back to normal. This was just one reason why my thoughts this morning centered around me being so amazingly "selfless."


On top of the kids somehow regressing into not knowing how to keep themselves alive, was the schedule, the friends, the sleepovers, the tornado my house would be every day despite my GREATEST and completely selfless efforts.


Brushing teeth while eating Oreos. At some point I just had to give up on the clean house, and the work. All of it.


If you did continue following me throughout my unexpected Summer Sabbatical, you would have seen baseball. I gained a lot of baseball followers and lost quite a few Level After Next content followers. My business really depends on the latter, but I've got to say, that the baseball world is beautiful, so I'm thankful to have them. I need an entire blog (really a book) to describe my thoughts on the sport as it pertains to life, growth, and leadership. Expect pieces of that at some point, even if you hate baseball, I promise I'll keep it light. So, while I carted Jameson around from his final Little League baseball tournament (they won 2nd and were totally the dark horse in that race), and into Allstars (won district and sectionals, then went to state), and finally to Reno for the Youth World Series, and Georgia back and forth to rehearsals for her starring role in her summer performance, I was learning and growing myself. I complained and I stressed, but I also loved it.


Jameson was amped to get on Allstars. This was the first year he has taken part. Last year he was invited, but we were unsure about whether we would be living in Southern California through the whole season, so we passed. As the regular season came to a close this year, I began to get warned about the dangers of Allstars baseball 😂. Parent after parent would say that it would consume your summer, that it could go on forever, that there would be time for nothing else. I didn't take them seriously, because let's be honest, we never take the first-time parenting advice from anyone seriously.


Por Ejemplo:

  1. You will need to sleep as much as you can while the baby sleeps - Yeah ok, I'm just going to get my alone time in on my phone during the day because I've read all the books about how to help them sleep at night and they can just nurse in bed. Thanks though, Janet.

  2. The newborn stage can be incredibly difficult and make you feel crazy - Yeah, so I've been trying to have this baby for two years, so I know it will just be easy and beautiful, and I'm not crazy (HA). I'm not going to have any trouble nursing because it's SO natural, or have a panic attack every night my husband is at work and move around all the furniture to barricade every door of the house. Oh, and I function REALLY well on no sleep, you should have seen me in college.

  3. The terrible twos are a myth, just wait until they turn three - Nothing can be worse than this "no" to everything stage where they talk like drunken aliens with complete conviction for their unknown opinions, and require 100% attention so that they don't set the house on fire climbing on the counter like spiderman in half a second to play with the toaster button when there's a stack of paper plates on top. Stop trying to scare me when I clearly am frazzled, tired, and contemplating selling this terror on Etsy (CHILL, I DIDN'T DO IT). *One year later: "The terrible twos are complete BS I tell the frazzled woman at the park as I strap my screaming 7-month-old into her Ergo, trying to get a boob in her mouth while carrying a strider bike under one arm and a VERY tired and tantrum-filled 3-year-old, who I now have to carry a half mile home because I was feeling adventurous and capable that disillusioned morning.


I don't think I need to go any further, it's all just to say that we don't believe the crap people tell us about parenthood, and often life, I think it's part defense mechanism, part pretentiousness, and partly an unwillingness to want to accept that adulthood or parenthood could get any more complicated or that will certainly do it best. That's ok. I think we often warn others without their consent because we kinda love looking back on those experiences, we don't need to scare them though, and we especially don't need to tell them about it when they don't ask...at least not the new moms. All that said, this blog is now extremely hypocritical, but I have a feeling that the moms of littles are a little too busy to have read this far, or even give half a sh*t about my blog, that's basically been dead for the last 4 months.


I mean if YOU are still reading this, I love you. So much.


ANYHOW...(can you tell I've missed writing?)


Those parents were right about the summer being wrapped around a great big baseball bat. For the record, none of them told it to me as if it were a bad thing, just information I should know, I still didn't believe it though.


So, I selflessly drove Jameson to all of his practices and helped Jeremiah improve his baseball skills (because his admiration for Jameson is massive) while getting Georgia to and from her play rehearsals which were in the most inconvenient area of town, but they filled her cup. I put more miles on my car this summer than is really safe for the lease we have.


I missed meetings, stopped being present on social media, recorded zero podcasts, wrote nothing, and rarely checked in with my clients, my customers, my readers, or my leaders. All of which had me feeling guilty, stressed, and without my much-needed creative outlets.


It was totally selfless.



Yet, I stayed and watched practices, selflessly, even though I could have gone home and cleaned the kitchen, caught up on work, or just sat for a moment. I stayed to watch him, even though most parents didn't (or really couldn't). So selfless of me.








I selflessly stayed up late to help Georgia practice her lines for the lead she got in a play with kids twice her age.

Despite being tired and feeling completely

unaccomplished for the day. I selflessly stayed up to admire her commitment and her memorized lines that I couldn't ramble out even when reading them. I gave up my sleep to selflessly hide behind her shut door and try to catch moments of her sweet voice practicing her solo song (which she refused to perform for us in its entirety because it "should be a surprise."



I selflessly played catch and threw balls to my youngest, while having conversations ranging from magnetic fields to animal poop, and marveling at how far he has come in this game I've grown to adore.


I selflessly allowed any child into our home, play with and pull out everything, literally everything. I allowed the rearranging of furniture and the made-up science experiments that only amounted to another mess for me. I selflessly allowed all the sleepovers and turned a blind eye to the snacks they stole, and lost sleep while listening to the silly conversations and laughs of boys on the verge of teenage years. I selflessly let the forts begin to be built, never completed, and NEVER cleaned up by the architects.




It was selfless, of course it was. Even though their beautiful imaginations opened up and their devices turned off and their giggles were enchanting. Even though they built beautiful bonds, smiled all summer, and I grew closer to them with every "yes," mess, and mishap.


Today, I selflessly agreed to make my 3 biological, and 2 bonus kids, Cinnamon Rolls for Lunch (I made them eat some fruit). It wasn't at all to get to see the looks of awe on their faces when they realized I was serious about the lunch plans. Just completely

selfless.


I selflessly attended 5 days a week of baseball practice and over 20 baseball games both across and out of state, in a span of 35 days, to see our kid get to do, experience, and achieve things most will never get to. Selflessly we built a beautiful community that will not only last forever but that brought life to me and hope for a life I've dreamed of having in Northern California, full of families, love for one another's children and hearts, as well as a support system and deep friendships.


So selfless.


Selflessly, we cut my 40th birthday trip to my favorite place in the world (my hometown) with family short in order for Jameson to attend the tryouts for his fall tournament league. I selflessly sat in a hot-as-hell room for 2 hours, with some of my new friends, to watch our boys display their beautifully honed talents and feel the excitement of baseball season never truly coming to an end.


"Yes" I thought to myself. It's been a completely selfless summer. Obviously.


But then "No, it hasn't." I've loved every second.


Thankfully, I've been reminded regularly by my team that my absence is ok, they can run their businesses while I focus on my family, and that's why they came here to work with me. I've been thanked for showing them just how flexible life and business can be. I've been reminded that I am taking full advantage of this beautiful time of life that I will never get back.


I've been given grace by my assistant and my mentors. Given SO much grace, especially from the CEO and Owner of the new company I will be hosting a show for this fall. The belief in me he has was overwhelming and nerve-wracking at first, it made imposter syndrome set it, but the grace I've been given and the beauty of this absolutely Self-ish Summer has helped me grow in ways I didn't think I needed to. It's given me confidence, new relationships with my children, new relationships with myself, brand new relationships with others who seem to have accepted my kookiness. It's given me time to really consider, discover, and plan how I will run this new show. I didn't think I needed that, but I did. I'm not afraid anymore, just excited.


Our brains tell us a lot of things, all the time. They are wired to defend and protect us, they will give us excuses, and help us validate ourselves and our actions, they will easily help us to become victims of circumstance. Our brains will give us reasons for why we acted a certain way, or why we didn't act at all. Our brains will help us to take all responsibility off of ourselves, and there is no room for growth there at all.


We still get to choose to reason, we can control our thoughts, and that can change a mindset, it can change everything; your relationships, your day, your week, your life.


I don't need an excuse for why I didn't work this summer, or why my house wasn't pristine, or why we spent far more money than expected on travel and snack shack food. I don't need an excuse for not doing a reel every day, posting a podcast a week, or gathering more clients and customers. I know I'll get back to that, and I know I will love it.


The Self-ish Summer of 2023 will go down in history as one of my very favorites. One where my kids and I built deeper relationships, where I focused on them while they focused on themselves. One where their mom was there with them and smiled more than they have ever seen her...just watching them.


I know you didn't ask, but while we are here, some my Self-ish Summer highlights were:

  • Baseball parties, so many, so fun.

  • My parents sacrificing comfort, time, and money to make it to as many games as they could, as well as Georgia's play, further showing my kids how loved they are and how incredible family should be.

  • New friendships

  • Acceptance of the beautiful mess that life can be

  • Better understanding of myself, allowing new boundaries, healthier relationships, and grace for myself.

  • Getting to have my husband around, and getting to show him just how chaotic this 24/7 thing is (ie the house isn't always clean, cereal is an acceptable dinner, losing sleep because kids are playing MLB the Show is pretty fun if you let it be).

*For context, this is the first full year where my husband has not worked 72-8 million hour shifts at least 3 hours away. It's the first full year that I've known he would

come home at night. It's the first full year in over 21 years, that we have completely lived together as a couple and a family. That's fire life, and I honestly never thought I would see the day.



As for the kids, there were many highlights, but to list a few....


Jeremiah:

  • Shocking us, and others, with more facts and figures than most adults can do in their heads.

  • Learning about magnets and electricity, finding his love for legos, bike riding, and gaining independence throughout the neighborhood, and using his imagination...even if I may have to call an expert in to adjust my soundboard, which acted as his Airplane Cockpit all summer.

  • Making new friends in the neighborhood.

  • Showing his connection to family, responsibility with time, and setting boundaries around his personal time and space.

  • Watching him watch his big brother, fall more in love with baseball, and learn skills from Jmo's amazing coaches who would take time to teach him whenever they had it. I can't wait to watch him play in the coming years.

  • Allowing his inquisitive mind to keep me from getting most anything done, and reveling in the ponderings of a deeply intuitive and talented child.

  • Trying with all his might to save the baby quail that were trapped in our sewage drains. Dealing with the heartbreaking realization that they may have all died despite our greatest and most humane efforts. Showing his empathy and ability to learn and grow from these kinds of experiences.



Georgia:

  • Choosing to take a flight by herself to spend time with Nana and Pop and her very best friends in the world, then asking to stay longer, thereby breaking my heart but making me so proud.

  • Deciding to start a business of her own, developing a business plan, and showing an entrepreneurial spirit that feels so familiar, yet is often not discovered until much later in life.

  • Starring in her second musical, showing up on stage in a way we couldn't believe, and bringing us to tears when we finally got to hear that song. She always said she wanted to sing and act, I decided a long time ago that I wouldn't brush off my kid's dreams, no matter how big. I'm so glad for that choice because she was serious and oh my goodness...she is amazing.

  • Showing maturity in so many ways; from helping me, to friendships new and old, and taking the initiative to truly make my 40th birthday more special than I could have possibly imagined (but that's another story because I'm not sure I have the emotional bandwidth to share it quite yet.)

  • Becoming a fan of her big brother and his sport. Her pride in him matches his in her. So this one is a double...it's the most beautiful thing.

  • Getting to spend time with her and find things we both love to do together. Being the only girl, in the middle, is hard and it's been hard for me to navigate, just another thing I thought would be easy. We found so many things this summer and shopping wasn't one of them

  • Also...and this one is limited to just me, (Dad still wants to be her one and only) having her first real crush.

  • Watching her navigate the emotions of a birthday surrounded by baseball tournaments, feel the disappointment and pain, and then turn around a month later to do something so special for me, with her friends, in order to make my birthday more memorable than ever.


Jameson:

  • Showing more and more maturity every day, even if it breaks my heart.

  • Navigating mindset and how it impacts everything in life, baseball teaches all kinds of things.

  • Showing dedication to his craft, most importantly off the field.

  • His decision to accept all honors classes even if meant reading a book in 4 days that everyone else had all summer to read (there was a small breakdown though)

  • Loving his sport, no matter the hours, the heat, the position he plays, or the time it takes away from sleep, friends, or relaxation. He lived his best life this summer.

  • A District and Sectional Championship in Allstars, taking him to State finals in Napa.

  • His maturity in losing the State Championship, and excitement to be able to join his travel team in training and turn around to go to the Youth World Series in Reno.

  • Showing up in every inning, most often behind the plate in full gear in 100+ degree weather, always ready for more.

  • Winning the championship in their bracket, being named All-Tournament with only two others, who he thinks the world of, but still remaining so humble and only wanting to improve.

  • Being responsible for one of my very favorite and most thoughtful birthday gifts ever, and solidifying my Baseball Mom title, with a Heart of the Hide baseball mitt for my 40th birthday.

We can call it what it was.


It was a selfish summer.


I'm so glad it wasn't the kind of selfish I would have likely planned myself, with massages, vacations, time alone to write and sing and paint. It wasn't about date nights or personal time, making more money, growing my brand, or really furthing anything other than what really need it; my personal growth, my kid's personal growth, our family bonds, my relinquishing of control, and my connection to my heart and the others I got to grow inside me.


I hope your summer was a bit selfish too, and it it was, I hope you can be proud of that. Whether it looked like mine, or was filled with vacations and spa days. If you need some grace, I will give it to you.


My office doors officially open again next week. I'm going to go be selfish for the last few days I can.


Here are a few more selfish moments, but hardly the best...because being selfish meant that I put my phone away and lived the moments, rather than feeling like I need to capture them.




Lastly, a huge shout out to B.A. Backyards, for helping us commemorate the best Allstar season we could have imagined, and make sure our incredible coaches never forget. It was a last minute "beg" and these could not have turned out any better.





Stay tuned for weekly Podcasts and my new show via Leon Media Agency, the If You Lead Them Podcast.


Thank you so much for hanging with me.


Love you, mean it.


Miss Georgia Jo, killing it on stage:
















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Great article Katie. Spend every minute. The time will pass either way, so enjoying the moments will be memories you can pull up for a lifetime.

As a leader, I have learned the importance of taking the time to cherish ALL the things. It is great to see you putting into action “family first” and the value placed on the human side of busy lives.

All the best,

Tracie

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It is so important to have spent this time for yourself and for your family. They all grow too fast and the hectic life of a parent seems never to end. But when they are grown and have children of their own and they still call and their children call because they want your opinion or want to complain to you about the life you already know too much about (parenting years and the problem with parents :0) it makes it all worthwhile. While there might be things in your life you might wish for a "do-over", you will never regret this summer.

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