Hannah Keeley's Total Mom Makeover

The Six-Week Plan to Completely Transform Your Home, Health, Family, and Life


By Hannah Keeley

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With all of the demands made on moms these days, it’s no wonder they can end up overwhelmed, disorganized, unhealthy, and empty. Enter Hannah Keeley to the rescue!

Keeley — founder of TotalMom.com, author, speaker, television personality, life coach, and full-time homeschooling mother of seven — knows of what she speaks.

By following her simple and inspiring program, Keeley promises in just six weeks mothers everywhere can: Look better and sexier than ever Create beautiful, clean, clutter-free homes Build great relationships with their husbands and kids Cook healthy meals for their families Control chaos, fear, and worry in their lives And much more

With advice and tips on everything from housecleaning to personal growth, Hannah Keeley’s Total Mom Makeover is a must-have for any mother ready to reinvent herself and her family and to live life to the fullest.


Also by Hannah Keeley

Hannah's Art of Home


Copyright © 2007 by Hannah Keeley

All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrievel system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.


Hachette Book Group

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New York, NY 10017

Visit our website at www.HachetteBookGroup.com.

First eBook Edition: June 2009

The information herein is not intended to replace the services of trained healthcare professionals or be a substitute for medical advice. You are advised to consult with your healthcare professional with regard to matters relating to your health, and in particular regarding matters that may require diagnosis or medical attention.

ISBN: 978-0-316-07653-1


Get Ready, Get Set

Motherhood has a way of sneaking up on you. One day, you are rubbing cocoa butter on your expanding belly and trying to decide on colors for the curtains in the nursery. The next day, you are wearing sweatpants because you can't button your jeans, dishes are spilling out of the kitchen sink, and the kids have colored all over the walls with permanent markers. Because of the ever-growing list of responsibilities, you begin pushing your own needs further and further down on the list. Eventually, you are just trying to make it through another day without losing your car keys, your temper, or your mind.

That's no way to live. And deep inside, you know that. But you can't stop long enough to catch your breath. And even when you do have a moment, you have no idea how to begin to make it better. Well, the time is now, the place is here, and you're going to start by forgetting everything you know about motherhood.

Old School

Our grandmothers knew how to do motherhood, but that's because they didn't have as many options as we do now. They were raised to know how to cook and clean, how to care for babies, and how to send their husbands off to work with a wink and a smile. They were smart women who applied themselves to their homes and families. They also knew that they were only as strong as their support network, so they reached out and maintained a sense of community with other moms.

Our mothers had more options but an entirely new set of challenges. They were brave women treading new territory in their careers and personal accomplishments. But they still had homes and families to care for, so their lives became a struggle as they learned to balance their responsibilities. With the advantages came the disadvantages. Even the mothers who chose to make family their primary career felt left behind as their support network donned business suits and left for work.

That was then. This is now.

Moms today have options that our grandmothers could never have imagined. We can choose to stay at home, go to work, or even work from home so that we can build a career as well as a family. We can raise our kids and even educate our kids, build a career or pursue a hobby, invest in our marriages while investing in ourselves. It is truly a great time to be a mom, a time full of possibilities and opportunities. As a matter of fact, there are so many options today that it is often difficult to make a choice.

Therein lies the problem: How do we choose? We have a family to care for and a home to manage, but there are endless other choices to be made. We have instant access to entertainment and community through computers, televisions, and telephones. We can shop from our homes or our closest mall. We can take our kids to gym class, the park, the living room, or even to work with us. It's no longer a question of what we have to choose from, but how we make our choices. This determines whether we sink or swim.

New World, New Strategy

The old strategies won't cut it in the world of mommyhood any longer. It's not how quickly we can wash the dishes or how balanced we can make our family meals that matters so much today. What matters is how we choose to invest our time, money, and energy in order to build a successful and healthy home, family, and life. So forget what you know about motherhood. If it's not working, throw it out.

The first step to becoming a Total Mom is to forget about what you should be doing. The shoulds keep you running around like crazy, fueling everyone and everything while you dwindle down to nothing. So quit beating yourself up. There is no room in the Total Mom life for negativity and self-sabotage. Just take it one step at a time. It's not about what you should be doing. It's about what you could be doing. This could be the time of your life to really shine and discover all of the enormous potential that is buried within you. Quit feeling guilty. Quit feeling powerless. Quit feeling hopeless. You don't have time for that anymore. Throw out the old and usher in the new.


"Shoulds, Coulds, and Woulds, Oh My!"

Okay, maybe you should be spending less money, getting in shape, raising your children better. You could be doing that. Or you would be doing that if only. The truth of the shoulds, coulds, and woulds is that they do nothing productive for you. Instead they torment you mentally and rob you of valuable time and energy. Shoulds, coulds, and woulds dwell in some far-off world out in the middle of nowhere. Can and will exist right here, right now. If you find yourself wasting time by dwelling in the shoulds of life, then leave those words behind you. Repeat to yourself, "I can" or "I will" and move forward to take some productive action. Staring at your thighs in the mirror and regretting those Double Stuf Oreos will do nothing for you. Instead, say, "I will work on these thighs, " and go do twenty reps of leg lifts. No more guilt. It's time to take action.

Have You Reached a Decision?

Don't waste your time any longer by wishing, hoping, or heaping on the guilt. If you are ever going to achieve any level of success, it must start with a conscious decision. I'm not talking about a fly-by-night whim. I'm talking about a true-blue decision, one of those moments when you close all other doors except the one you are walking through. When I was sobbing on the floor of my bedroom, physically, financially, and emotionally impoverished, I made a conscious decision to improve my life. There were no other options.

Moods will come and go, but a true decision sticks with you no matter what. It's a "for better" or "for worse" commitment. It's easy to make a decision to lose fifteen pounds when you just finished off a bowl of ice cream dripping in hot fudge. But when everyone around you is munching on nachos and you haven't eaten anything except some rice cakes and a bowl of minestrone soup, it gets pretty difficult to stick to your guns. A real decision has the power to stick with you — even through the nachos.


Share the News!

Commit yourself to this makeover by telling someone about it, such as a close friend or relative. Make sure she is tough enough to hold you responsible for your commitment and motivate you along the way. By sharing your decision, you have taken an action to fulfill it, and this is a huge step.

Sometimes a decision is easy to make because you see no other alternative. Or perhaps you do see that alternative and it scares your pants off. I saw what I was becoming, that day on the floor, and the decision to improve was an easy one. Take a look at the path ahead of you. Does it lead to success or cycle back through dissatisfaction and personal failure? If you are headed for success, then I hope this program is just more steam in your engine. If you are not headed in that direction, then you are standing at a crossroads. You need to be the one to make the decision that you deserve more. Today can be the day to take a different path.

Go For It!

True decisions have power behind them. They are not idle wishes or weak hopes. They are commitments that are set in stone. Forget about saying "I wish I had a nicer home" or "I would like to be healthier." These are little wisps of yearnings that evaporate into thin air. A true decision comes with a launchpad underneath. "I will create a nicer home." "I will take steps to become healthier." These use action verbs — massive action verbs! A true decision leads you down a determined path, with no option of turning back. It pushes you beyond your current point into an entirely new reality.

Life truly can change in an instant. Today you can make a decision that will affect your entire outcome. You can begin right now to create your new reality. Envision the life that you want to live, leave everything behind, and go after it. If you know deep inside that there has got to be more to life, then you are right on track. Use your dissatisfaction to propel you to new levels of achievement. This makeover will give you the strategies you need to live the life you deserve, so make that decision — now!

Week One, Day One: Daily Exercises

1. Leave the past where it belongs. This is a new day, with a fresh start. In your Total Mom Makeover journal, date the first page and write "Week One, Day One." You will label each day of this makeover in the same way, with the appropriate week and day. Now think about all of those shoulds that you have been carrying around with you — everything that bugs you about your home, health, family, and life — and write them down. These can be anything from "I should spend more time playing with the kids" to "I should keep a cleaner house." Whatever it is that's bugging you, this is the time to get it out of your head and onto paper. Take as long as you like and empty out all of the burdens you have been carrying around. Don't worry about doing anything about them now. That will come later.

2. Are you ready to embark on this six-week journey? Make a firm decision that you want more out of life, that you want to be the best mother, wife, homemaker, and woman that you could ever be. Now set this decision in stone by writing it down in your journal. Begin with "I have decided . . . " and finish the sentence according to what you desire for your home, your health, your family, and your life. It can be just a few sentences, or it can take up an entire page. After you finish, you may want to log on to TotalMom.com and join the Total Mom Makeover Club. You'll be glad you did.


Check Your Vision

The more I strive for success in my personal and professional life, the more I realize that the world will get out of the way for a person with unshakable vision. By vision, I don't mean an idealistic view of what you would like to see happen someday. I mean the kind of vision that wakes you up in the morning and starts your engine, the kind of vision that is so real you can almost taste it. That's the kind of vision you need to have as a mother. You need to see the mom that you want to become with such acute clarity that you will adopt that character as your own.

Greased Lightning

You've probably seen the movie Grease. In one part, The T-Birds are faced with the challenge of turning a broken-down hunk of junk into a streamlined, powered-up race car. Most of the boys are laughing about the horrible condition of the car and mocking the task, but Danny Zuko, played by John Travolta, decides to open their eyes to the possibilities. He begins by saying, "This car could be automatic, systematic, hydromatic. Why, it could be Greased Lightning!" Suddenly, they all break out into a song-and-dance number while they create a fantastic, shining, glimmering car, complete with silver lightning bolts painted along the body and a pair of fluffy dice hanging from the rearview mirror. The dance number ends with everyone gathered around the car and Zuko on top of the glistening creation. Then the car turns back into the junk heap that they had before, with everyone in the same position around it. Zuko looks around, shouts, "Let's get to work!" and jumps down. Nothing happened with the car. But a remarkable thing happened with the T-Birds. They now had a vision; and the vision was strong enough to put them to work.

What Is a Vision?

I have found that most people have a very distorted idea of what a vision really is. They see it as a daydream or fantasy. They would rather tune in to the Fine Living or Entertainment channel to see how the rich and famous live than pour energy into their own lives. For many, a vision is an escape from reality. However, the truth is that a real vision is a powerful tool that can help you create the reality you desire. If you can truly envision it, then you can realize it.

I opened up a fortune cookie once, and the words on that little slip of paper have always stayed with me: "One person dreamed of becoming somebody. Another remained awake and became." I don't remember what I ate, and I don't even recall the restaurant, but I will always remember that fortune. Visions can build us up or tear us down. If your vision is just a form of escape, then all it will do is lead you down a white rabbit's hole. Daydreaming is never a waste of time as long as it is being used as a tool, not an escape route. Our daydreams help us to create visions of the family life we want to live, the body we want to have, the house we want to own. These daydreams are healthy as long as they continue to move us forward. If your daydreams pull you away from reality, they eat up time and energy that you could put toward realizing your dreams.

However, let me give you a word of warning. When you begin making progress, the world will fight you tooth and nail. Fighting the inertia in order to pursue your vision will probably be the most challenging task when it comes to achieving your goals. As soon as you decide that you want to be a kinder, more compassionate mother, your child will publicly embarrass you and make you boiling mad. When you make a resolution to catch up on your laundry, the washing machine will break and flood half of the house. On the day you decide to get in shape, your neighbor will appear at your door with a platter of fudge. It's inevitable. But it's not impossible. The way I see it, the more obstacles I overcome, the more skills I develop. A true vision is not a guarantee against pitfalls. Instead, it is a reason to find a way to scrape, scratch, and claw your way out of them.

"Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens."


The Mom You Want to Be

What is your vision? Today is the day when you bring that into focus. If you want to change your life, it all begins with a clear vision of the direction in which you're headed. It works like this: Visualize the future and then begin making adjustments in your life to fit that vision. You won't be able to get fit until you can visualize yourself with more muscle tone and less fat, looking hot in all of your clothes. You won't get your home organized until you can imagine it in operation with all of its systems in place. Today you need to get a clear picture of the Total Mom that you want to become.

We are all in a process of becoming, and as soon as you feel as if you have "arrived," a new challenge usually pops up. Life is a learning experience, but you have to be the one to initiate growth and change in response to that learning. You can easily fall into a cycle of existence where your days meld together and you feel as if you are treading water. But if you have a clear vision of your goals and your future, then transformation is always taking place. Every day, every moment, can be a move forward and upward if you have a clear vision in place.

Make It Tangible

The clearer you can make your vision, the easier it will be for you to make it a reality. For example, if you want to look and feel healthier, then visualize that woman with all of your senses. Hear how she breathes while she exercises, see the muscular definition in her arms and thighs, taste the healthy whole foods that she chooses to eat, feel how the clothes fit her body. See it and feel it with such clarity and conviction that you make it your new reality.

Your mind truly cannot tell the difference between what you clearly imagine and what you actually do. You activate the exact same neural process when you see yourself shooting a basketball through a hoop in your imagination and when you actually do it with your body. The mind is remarkable. What we imagine, we become.

Every day, take a moment and focus on the clear and tangible vision of the woman you are becoming. Take a moment and focus on becoming her. Walk like her, talk like her, speak to the children like her, love your husband like her. She is the new you.

Don't Accept Less than the Best

You deserve the very best in life: the best home, the best family, the best husband. You deserve to look good and feel good. You deserve to be positive, inspired, energetic, and excited every day. You deserve to cram fifty lifetimes' worth of living into your one life. This is, or will be, your reality. And everything that does not fit into this reality is considered subpar and unacceptable. Our lives are completely determined by what we will and will not accept.

So what are you accepting right now? What are you begrudgingly living with day after day? If you feel that aspects of your life are subpar, are you content to let them remain that way? Have you reached the point where you refuse to accept anything less than what is best for you? You were meant for great and mighty things, but they will only happen in your life when you are ready to accept them as your reality.

What you believe about yourself is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you tell yourself that a prosperous future is just not in the cards for you, then you have made that reality inevitable. You are the only one holding the cards. No power on earth — money, looks, luck, talent, opportunity, nothing — can stand up against the power of your beliefs and your determination to act in accordance with those beliefs.

Week One, Day Two: Daily Exercises

1. Look at the list of shoulds that you made yesterday. You will probably find that most of the things you listed are areas where you feel the greatest amount of dissatisfaction. Use this list as a springboard to identify what you want out of life. Take those frustrations and channel them to create a clear vision of the woman that you want to become. Label and date the next page in your journal and write "My Vision" across the top. Now describe this new woman. Own this vision by writing it in the first person and get as illustrative as possible with your description. How do you act? Dress? Speak? For example, "I have boundless energy. I eat healthy food that nourishes my body. I look sexy in my stylish clothes. I smile at my children and flirt with my husband." This is the new you! Make your description as clear as possible so that you can carry this vision around with you at all times.

2. Women are often very visually perceptive. Use this attribute to your advantage. Look through your favorite magazines and books to find pictures and quotes that capture the vision that you have for your home, health, family, and life. Glue these pictures on the next clean two-page spread in your journal so that the illustrations cover both pages. Leave some blank spots to fill in as the vision evolves.


Words That Work

Words carry with them a mighty force. Believe it or not, all of us possess magical powers, and we can choose to use these powers for evil or for good. We perform magical incantations every day, using words to hurt and to heal, to push forward and to pull back. If you can harness this power, there is no limit to the magic you can perform, both in your life and in the lives of others.

Casting Spells

My two oldest children are die-hard Harry Potter fans. When they were younger, they would pretend that they were students at Hogwarts. They fashioned wands out of sticks and learned all of the magic spells. I would often hear them casting spells on each other. "Petrificus Totalus!" — and all of a sudden the opponent would be frozen solid. "Tarantallegra!" — and the other person's legs would begin dancing uncontrollably. They were pretending, of course, but the magic of words is just that tangible. Words can immobilize us, and words can make our lives a beautiful dance. They have unbelievable power.

When you voice something, you give it a life and the permission to exist. Our words often dictate our behaviors and the behaviors of others. For example, in the learning room of my house I have a list of rules on the wall. One of the rules is pretty obvious — it's the word can't with a big slash mark through it. None of the children are allowed to say can't when referring to their abilities. By saying you can't do something, you have already defeated yourself. A math problem or a vocabulary word doesn't have the power to defeat you; only you have the power to defeat you. And when you use limiting words, you are limiting yourself.

Black Magic, White Magic

It's not just what we say but also what we hear that affects our lives in powerful ways. Positive comments can propel us to new levels of greatness; negative comments have the potential to scar us for life. I don't know if you have any toxic spells infecting your life, but many of us walk around with verbal curses shadowing our pathways. Perhaps someone close to you has told you, "You're not smart enough," "You don't have what it takes," or "Don't get your hopes up." Little curses can work black magic over our lives, just as real as if a sorcerer waved his wand and cast a spell. These toxic words infect your entire existence. They put up parameters where there should be unlimited potential, and they need to be wiped away. You have the power to perform your own white magic.

"Words — so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them."


When you feel those past comments striking you down, be armed with your own quiver of white magic arrows to shoot each one — a blessing for each curse. For example, if you have been told you are not smart and those words continue to haunt you, then give yourself a positive message: "I am a smart woman. I am intelligent and creative." Positive messages drain these curses of the spell that they have cast over you. Curses and blessings have no power other than the power that you ascribe to them. How much do you believe in the negative messages that have been given to you? Maybe it's time to develop a new reality — a belief in the potential that lies within you. When you give yourself positive messages, believe them. Make them real, say them out loud, support them with your actions. If you believe you are smart, intelligent, and creative, then you will act accordingly. You will read quality literature. You will act on your creative ideas. You will engage in stimulating conversation. Words are powerful, but it is your belief in those words that will determine your response.

Power Up Your Vocabulary

You can transform your world when you transform your vocabulary. Whether we realize it or not, the words we say carry a lot of weight. Begin to consider your words carefully before you utter them. Start minimizing your negative comments and maximizing your positive ones. Once, I felt very ill. Evidently I was battling some kind of bug that was going around. But I would never say that I was sick. To me, sick carried too many negative connotations. When my husband, Blair, would ask how I felt, I would reply with something like, "I'm feeling a bit challenged," or maybe, "I'm just a tad uncomfortable." Finally, he said, "Would you just admit that you're sick?"

Detox Your Mommy Vocabulary

"sick and tired" "reached a decision"
"completely overwhelmed" "somewhat challenged"
"I'm disappointed in you." "I'm surprised at your behavior."


On Sale
Jun 27, 2009
Page Count
272 pages
Little Brown Spark

Hannah Keeley

About the Author

Hannah Keeley is the work-from-home mother of seven children and the founder of TotalMom.com, a quickly growing resource for mothers. She has written for many magazines, including Family Circle, Parentlife, Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion, and Family Fun. She is an online expert for ClubMom.com and serves on the advisory board of HousekeepingChannel.com.

She has been featured on a TLC special called “House of Twins,” and she did a national satellite radio tour with the Lowe’s chain. She also appears regularly on her local CBS affiliate in a weekly segment called the “Total Mom Moment.” Keeley has a degree in psychology from Furman University, and lives in Virginia, where she homeschools her children. Her Web sites are http://www.totalmom.com and http://www.hannahkeeley.com.

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