Hi, I’m Leslie, and I get a little bit excited about happy living.
(And by a little excited, what I really mean is OBSESSED).
You may have also picked up by now that I am a mom. I have three scrumptious kids, an equally scrumptious husband, 3 cats, 5+ fish, a snake, and a full-time job.
By day, I go by Dr. Ralph the psychologist. I’ve worked with well over a thousand individuals through therapy, coaching, and workshops and logged thousands of hours doing it. My work has been featured on Psych Central, Tiny Buddha, Mind Body Green, Pick the Brain, and Positively Positive (not to mention The American Psychological Association, the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, and a few professional journals).
By early morning and lunch hours and all the spaces in between, I’m a writer and budding artist. In addition to my writing for grown-ups (like this!), I write and illustrate picture books. I like to say I create words and pictures to inspire moms and kids to explore their big ideas and live happily (ever after).
And at home, I go by mom 🙂
Writing and art are a HUGE part of my life now, but they weren’t always. I clearly remember the day I announced I was starting a blog. And the morning I sat down under the cover of darkness, picked up a pencil, and started drawing.
Like one of those scenes from a movie when someone who’s had amnesia suddenly remembers their entire life, the memories of all the things I thought I could live without came flooding back. Those were important steps in unearthing those parts of me that had been buried a looong time – and I didn’t even know they were missing. This was the beginning of what I called my “year of happy.”
Here’s what I’ve learned from my year of happy”
I’ve realized that just because you can live without it doesn’t mean you have to.
That healing, restoration, inspiration, and excitement are essential to your health.
And that taking care of your SELF helps you take care of your kiddos.
I want to share that with YOU.
At a Year of Happy, I’m showing mothers how to nurture themselves, be present in body, heart and mind, and bottle up the good stuff for rainy days and bumpy roads with my signature blend of joyful projects, guided journals, and delectable meditations. At A Year of Happy, we’re taking care of ourselves, boosting confidenem and feeling the joy in this journey of growing kids and growing up.
Want in to this happy mama sisterhood? Grab your free welcome gift, the 2-minute revitalizing meditation and bring the focus back to what matters and brings you joy.
There’s plenty that could stress us out. What we need more of is joy.
More ease and compassion, confidence and intention. And TRUTH.
So here’s the truth:
If someone told me 6 years ago when I was pregnant for the first time how tired I would be – if they showed me a picture the mess or told me how much control I’d have to give up, I might have run the other way. And if they told me how deeply I could love, how much meaning my life would have, and how strong and brave I truly am, I don’t know if I would have believed them.
They say we’re only as happy as we allow ourselves to be, and to tell the truth I didn’t quite trust that I would be okay no matter what. So I used control as a good enough substitute for happy. But it turned out that it wasn’t even close.
What I didn’t yet see was how much of a role in my own stress I had. Oh sure, I could help my clients with this all day long. But myself? Not so much.
The more I beat myself up, and the more expectations I piled on to do better, the worse I felt. And this did not make me that superwoman I thought I was supposed to be.
You know what else? This wasn’t so enjoyable, either.
After having my second child, the messes and appointments and unexpected stuff somehow more than doubled. And I was forced to make a decision. (Literally. My husband sat me down and said, “Leslie, you are complaining about everything, and I don’t know what to do.”)
I decided then that I could either be more than twice as stressed, or I could take a step back, pay attention to what actually matters, and adapt to this new season with a happy lifestyle designed to fit ME.
Look. There’s an endless list of things that feel like they “should” be done. You’re never going to finish it.
There’s endless advice on how to try to do it all that might make you feel worse, too.
You know what isn’t endless?
Your energy. Your brain power (sorry, but it’s true!). Your patience. Your time with your kids. (Yeah, they’re getting older all the time.)
For me, accepting this was the secret to kissing my survival mode goodbye and enjoying more goodnight kisses.
I want to look back on this time of my life and know that I SAVORED the time I have with the people I love most. And I want to know that I treated myself with love, too! That’s when I made the decision to focus my limited time and energy (and brain power) on what works and what is most important to me and my family.
I want that for you, too!
Sound good? Good!
Welcome to A Year of Happy!
I’m creating journals, meditations, and happy projects that will help you nurture and nourish yourself, savor the time with your sweeties, and feel all around HAPPY year-round.
Here’s step one in your year of happy:
Grab your free welcome gift, the 2-minute revitalizing meditation, and settle in to what matters most.
Simply must know more? Here are some other fun facts about me:
When I’m not writing for mamas, I’m at the kitchen table writing and illustrating children’s books and devising science experiments for kids at Leslie Ralph Stories.
Before I was a psychologist, I studied music. I majored in clarinet performance (and psych) at Vanderbilt University. Back then the opera pit was my favorite place to be.
When I was little, I wanted to be a professional figure skater. I practiced my Tiffany, Martika, and Debbie Gibson routines on roller skates. It was most excellent.
I have a major weakness for soundtracks. If I had more time in the day, you’d probably find me looking up that track on episode 9, season 3 of Pretty Little Liars (not that I watch it or anything….)