To all of my friends, in-persona nd virtual, who help this mommy stay more balanced than not:
When you listen, I keep my sanity.
When you laugh, my heart smiles.
When you show support, I survive.
When you rant, I agree.
When you’re lost, I hold the compass.
When you’re ready to pull it together, I help gather the pieces.
When you have a great day, I am happy.
When you interrupt, I am glad you can relate.
When you’re sad, I am heartbroken.
When you triumph, I am not surprised.
When you walk out of the room, I steal a sip of your wine!
Today was one of those days. I didn’t sleep well last night, thanks to an adorable, yet snoring child in my bed. It was grey and drizzling outside and frankly, I am pms’ing (apologies to my male readers). My plan was to go inward metaphorically. I would hide from the world and maybe even skip yoga because it’s just a crummy day.
Then I got a text from a friend that she’s having a tough week too. I decided the best way I could support her and anyone else having a tough day was to dust off the blog (Oh my! Does anyone have an extra feather duster and some Pledge, because I have been gone too long!) and share the 3 things every
mommy woman person needs. Hopefully, you all know what you need, but consider this a reminder, permission or just a loving nudge to be good to yourself!
- The Real Story – You are awesome, without having to be perfect. Nobody is perfect. If you are, please don’t tell me, I am fragile today. Here’s my shining examples of not being perfect-
- Every mom feels guilt. We were tired so we only read the top sentence of every page of our child’s book (sadly when they learn to read, I have to find other ways to cheat). We tell our kids we left their favorite movie at a friends’ house so we don’t have to hear it AGAIN. (Notice I say hear, because I am guilty of not even watching it)! We pick going to get a massage over watching a ballet practice. I think I have said enough to win mother of the year, I am moving on…
- Every mom yells. Our preschool teacher is amazing, like off the charts patient, kind and creative. AND she has FOUR kids! FOUR! She was recently asked, do you ever raise your voice and she said of course she does. If she says she does, than I know its okay that I do! That is one benefit of rainy days, I know my windows are closed so that my neighbors can’t hear me yelling!
- Every mom gets behind on housework. A note to the working moms – the stay at home moms have laundry piling up too! Even the cleanest houses and those with cleaning ladies have their bad days! (My blog isn’t the only thing that needs dusting…) You can’t perpetually hide the kids’ toys, husband’s junk or pet paraphernalia!
- Pick your poison. We all have our coping mechanism alcohol, caffeine, sugar, carbs. Okay, I pick all of them! There may be people out there who don’t need any of those, but I am not confident enough to be friends with somebody like that, so I choose to think we all have our vices. One mocha Prozac vodka latte please –with whip!
- Pick your distraction. TV (Somebody should give the Nobel Peace prize to the inventor of DVR, because that person keeps the peace in my house), books (Have you read 50 Shades of Grey?!), magazines (I get more than I have time to read, but it’s comforting to know they are there to fill my head with gossip, recipes, fashion and homemaking!). What’s your distraction?
- Pick your escape. Book club, bunko, mom’s group – these all could be bucketed as an excuse to get together and drink wine. Yoga – hmm, add wine and it might be utopia… The point is to find a way to blow off steam and smile!
- The sounding board. You know, the one you call and say, “I am going to kill my kids”, but she doesn’t call CPS (although you might appreciate if she did). Or the one you can call and say “should I be mad at my husband for …”. Or the one you tell, “I really need to pull it together” and she tells you that you don’t have to.
- The one that takes the high road. Just like we need the in-your-corner (even if it’s the corner of crazy and whack job) friend, we need the one who puts it in perspective, plays devil advocate and tries to make you a better person. Let’s be honest, we only call that friend when we’re not afraid of heights. But when we’re capable, the high road reminds us that there are people with bigger problems and helps us find gratitude for our blessed lives. She is also not a mind-reader, so when you tell her to “F” off in your head, she probably can’t hear you, I don’t think…
- The vice connection. She is my personal favorite. When the going gets tough, the tough get cocktails and she’s the gal stirring the drinks! She’ll split the whole chocolate cake with you and insist on opening the second bottle of wine. Who can have bad day while in a sugar induced coma?
The moral of the story- There is someone with a messier house, a shittier day and no wine in the fridge. Call the friend you need, meet her for yoga and have a snickers and cabernet on stand-by. You deserve it. Yes, you!
I shared with you yesterday that I am exploring a coaching program. I hadn’t planned to share more details of my proposed coaching business yet or who I hope to coach, but my friend Kelly at Dances with Chaos wrote a post about kindness and paying it forward, read it, that inspired me to reveal more of my dreams. Dreams are fragile, please be gentle with mine…
The day before I left for Santa Barbara and my transformational weekend I attended a funeral for my great-aunt. I barely knew her and simply went out of respect. My dad did not go, she was never his favorite person. Because of this, I didn’t have much exposure to her. As I sat listening to the eulogy, I was struck by a sadness for not getting to know the amazing woman being described. Some of my relatives are tough, they focus on the perceived negatives of others. As I sat, seeing an opportunity missed, I realized I love people. I love seeing the good in people. The world would be a better place if we found joy in the goodness of people rather than identifying other people’s challenges as proof of our own goodness.
My dream is to coach women on being good to themselves and others. I want to encourage them to go after their dreams without guilt. To support them when they struggle with balance. I want to help them live fullers lives by their own definitions. I want to inspire kindness and see it spread like a virus.
Do I hate men and not care about their balance? Of course not, but I want to focus on a group that isn’t very united. Think of the mommy wars as an example. Stay at home moms judging working moms for ‘abandoning their families’ to make money instead of raising their kids. Working moms judging stay at home moms for not doing “more” with their time. All these arguments are meritless and painful. We’re supposed to be a sisterhood, but how quickly we can tear each other down. So my focus will be women, but one of my new LifeLaunch friends is focused on coaching men, so balance has been achieved yet again.
I realize, as a coach, I will have to coach on the topic my client and I contract on. I won’t be able to push my own agenda, but I hope to create a safe place for people who share my philosophy. I hope to leverage my training to help women be kind to themselves. As part of my grand plan, I want to launch a women’s group that provides women a positive support network who share the common goal of uniting and supporting other women. So my pay it forward is coming…
In the meantime, I want to highlight an inspirational women, who already makes the world a better place. Patience Salgado aka Kindness Girl, practices random acts of kindness and was just featured in Oprah Magazine. Read her blog, follow her lead. As I am writing this post in advance, I will follow-up with my Pay It Forward action for today, but there will be one.
Thank you Kelly and Patience for sparking kindness on this beautiful Friday.
What random act of kindness have you committed or been the recipient of?
The following lessons may or may not have come from actual or alleged events. You can’t prove these things happened. I destroyed the pictures. Enjoy the lessons and take them to heart!
- There are three slots on an ATM – the one you put the card in, the one you get a receipt from and the one that dispenses the money. These slots are not interchangeable.
- When a friend gives you directions to a bar four times, it is time to pick that friend up from said bar.
- When attempting to rent a stack of chick flicks, it is easier to ask how to open a rental account than to guess other people’s’ account information.
- Short bar patrons are not souvenirs. Even if she is 4′ 10″ one should not try to put her in their pocket.
- Yoga on patio cushions is dangerous.
- There is a brief window where karaoke sounds good: after listeners have had enough to drink to miss the mistakes, but before the singers have had too much to drink and sit down on stage.
- If you’re going to get on your hands and knees to bow to your new friend at the bar because she has six kids and multiple grandchildren, wash your hands afterwards.
- Playing ‘hide the car’ while a friend is in a store, never becomes
- If eye flirting with a guy at the other end of the bar doesn’t create a love connection, throwing ice at him probably won’t either.
- There is a fine line between a classy woman and a two scoops of crazy one.
This last weekend, after having sushi with friends, we decided to go the Saloon in town. I love saying this, because I am hoping it conjures up images of me living in Texas and wearing some sassy boots. I really do live in the suburbs, but we do have a saloon with a mechanical bull.
After running up a bill that was more Sapporo than sushi (and it was a lot of sushi), we headed over to the Saloon. As some of you may know, I am all for an adventure. Before we even left the parking lot of the sushi restaurant, my husband was making me swear I would not ride the mechanical bull. We were placing bets in the parking lot on who would ride and my husband kept reminding me that I am already a frequent visitor to the chiropractor and a bull ride would not help. I do not think it is appropriate to bring up my aging, frail body on my birthday.
Upon arriving, I felt like the bull was calling my name, my friends were trying to talk me into it and my husband was giving me the look of, ‘I will not give you sympathy or pay for the massages’. We decided two other friends would ride, but I would at least get on for a picture. Only I couldn’t even get on by myself. Maybe it was the Sapporo or the high-heeled boots, or the Sapporo, but it took the help of a friend to even get me on – it was clear riding would not go any better. Rather I was a passionate spectator.
The only thing that could steal my attention was the 80′s band setting up. One of the guys had a mullet and the female lead definitely rocked the 80′s – hard! I was instantly enamored! I was the first one on the dance floor – inappropriately early. I drug my tolerant friends and two perfect strangers out with me. Is there anything better than listening to an 80′s band in a Saloon, with fantastic, indulgent friends?
Well yes, let me suggest some improvements:
- They didn’t know any Bon Jovi songs. There should be a law that states that if you have a mullet, you know Bon Jovi songs.
- I am too old to dance with such enthusiasm (think hamming it up – combination swing dancing and jazzercise) in high-heeled boots. My shins, calves and ankles are still recovering. I should have taken the boots off earlier.
- If you can’t remember how many beers you had at dinner, don’t drink seven captain and diets at the saloon, even if you are making up for Lent.
- When everyone wants to leave, do not explain to your husband that the two nice women you met on the dance floor can bring you home later.
- We should have used a camera that didn’t create the devil eyes, but it’s almost fitting because I felt like the devil had strapped me to a mechanical bull and done his worst the next morning…
I had a fabulous girls weekend. Friday night was
book club a passion party and Saturday I left for San Francisco for some quality time with my cousin (who is more like a sister). I had a wonderful weekend full of laughs, yummy food and female bonding, but certainly learned a few lessons:
- When soup boils over, do not grab a wet paper towel to pull the grate off the burner, in order to clean it immediately. Fight the OCD impulses, wait until the stove has cooled down and never use a wet towel – paper or otherwise.
- When hosting a passion party, not only do you need to have the kids out of the house, but they need to remain out of the house until you do a full cleaning. Check under the sofa to make sure there are no passion party product catalogs that your kids can find.
- When departing for the city – listen to the advice you give your kids – go potty before you leave. While you may not be conspicuous running through Union Square doing the pee pee (or worse) dance, it can be uncomfortable and the thought of not making it to the hotel bathroom frightening.
- When driving to any big city, choose your car wisely. The biggest SUV on the road is not the best choice. If you have no other vehicle option, make sure you know the height restrictions of the parking garage AND the height of your car. Accuracy is important here, otherwise one might learn what those metal tube height signs sound like when they scrape the top of your car. Luggage racks can act as the
sacrifical lamblife saver in this situation.
- Valet parking (with the additional oversize vehicle fee) at the hotel is expensive, but slightly less than the deductible on your car insurance. Suck it up when the valet mentions your car is not the best choice for the city.
- Eating your way through San Francisco may sound like a
goodgreat idea, but should be left to the professionals. Over eating can lead to food coma which can cause falling asleep during the previews of a movie and one should be careful about sleeping in the Metreon. Three such food comas in 24 hours probably isn’t healthy and may result in a sleepless night, despite the Heavenly Bed.
- Check your cell phone alarm clock and ensure it is off. Waking up at 6:00 am on a girls weekend after a night of food coma fall-out can be hazardous.
- If you plan to shop in the city, tell your husband in advance to avoid shell shock. If you don’t plan to shop in the city, you’re just fooling yourself. Shopping in the city is as unavoidable as encountering crazy, ranting women with black eyes and missing teeth.
- When a man is sitting in the park with a sign that says “Free Advice”, you should stop and listen. It can’t be worse than the advice we give our friends.
- There is nothing better for your soul than a weekend of girl time (and nothing worse for your waist line).
I am still treading wine, but drowning more than drinking. I just returned from two back to back business trips. I realize many people travel every week for work, across countries and continents – they’re amazing, I am not. I am tired and my body hurts from lugging my ginormous (technical term) laptop all over the place in heels. I was ready to spend some time at home and get back to normal, then my old pal Murphy (as in Murphy’s Law) showed up…
My little diva has been sick for the past couple of days with a 103.5 fever and sleep
disrupting killing cough. I have tried to catch up on work and home life while “functioning” on 2 hours of sleep over two days. (Why was this so much easier when the kids were babies??? Don’t say I am getting old - I am fragile and can’t take that right now!)
Here are the signs that things were slipping in my world:
- There was soy sauce and wine on the table, I meant to put soy sauce on my brown rice…
- I put a carton of milk in the dryer – of course I didn’t turn it on (because my husband walked up)
- I lost my son’s homework, my daughter’s valentine’s and my… (I can’t even remember the other thing!) all in one day! They were all found, including the thing I don’t remember losing, by somebody else.
There are plenty more examples, like my inability to string a sentence together to save my life, but I think you get the drift. I have hit the proverbial wall and it is not made of cheese, chocolate or wine corks.
I told my friend this morning, “I just need to get organized and catch up on everything and I will be fine”. This sent her into hysterical laughter. I am pretty sure my friends only keep me around for the entertainment value. She gently reminded me that being “caught up” might be too ambitious and I would miss all the fun in the meantime.
So guess what I did?
At 12:05 I was sitting in my home office, in my pajamas, unshowered and decided to meet a friend for lunch. This gal is rarely in town and was 10 minutes from my house. I looked at my work email, my to-do listsssss (did you catch the emphasis on the plural lists) and walked away. I set a new record for fastest shower and walked out the door at 12:10. mostly clean, no make-up and a big smile.
I have to tell you a spontaneous lunch out is incredibly therapeutic. The to-do listssss continue to grow, but I am no longer drowning, because really, what is more important - expense reports or lunch with a great friend?
I knew you’d agree.
How do you keep your head above water?
I have been having a polygamist, same-sex relationship. Online, no less. What would my grandmother say?
Who is this group of women? Fellow bloggers.
My expectation of blogging was simple: to have a creative outlet for myself, a personal playground. I did not expect to make friends online. And then I did.
Yesterday, I took the next step in the relationship. I met some other bloggers for lunch and wine tasting in Napa. Whitehall Lane hosted us for a fabulous wine tasting that was delicious and educational (ask me about glass corks). Who doesn’t bond over wine??? We then had a fabulous lunch at Brix. There was singing, mooning and threats of motor-boating. It was right up my alley.
As I drove home reflecting on my afternoon, I felt blessed to have spent a day with exceptional women. But as I chatted with a close friend about my experience, she said I sounded numb. She said I was saying wonderful things, but lacked my usual animation. I thought about it and realized, I lacked emotion because I had some deep thoughts brewing.
Somewhere along the way, my blogging expectations became more complex. I started watching my blog stats and wondering what it would be like to be one of those celebrity bloggers. I started thinking that turning my hobby into something more might be my next goal. After meeting these amazing women I was ready to go home and go after that goal.
But here’s the problem with me and goals: I am a crazy overachiever. My competitive spirit can cloud my judgement, reaching the goal becomes more important than the journey. I often say I could never be on the Bachelor, because I would want the rose even if the guy was a creep. I set goals for myself and when I achieve them, I feel lost. I expect that the next achievement will keep me satisfied. And it doesn’t. I end up failing to fully appreciate the experience. I fear that I could diminish my passion for writing if I take it too seriously.
I think it is great to turn passions into careers or have goals for your hobbies. I met women yesterday who, for them, this is more than a hobby and I revere them. But for me to have balance in my life, I have to catch myself. Motivation is good in moderation. I need an area of my life where I don’t push my hardest.
Does this mean I don’t have secret dreams of turning writing into something more? Of course I do. Would it be great to make a little wine and lunch money while doing something I love? Uh, yeah! But I need to slow down, take time to smell the cabernets and enjoy my new polygamist same-sex relationship.
Do you have something that gives you pure joy without stress? Is the journey or the destination more important to you?
Last week I attended a pajama exchange party. Basically a bunch of women got together for wine, appetizers and a game of pajama
exchange stealing. The evening was fun on so many levels. Our hostess has a beautiful home with perfect decorations, she had delicious appetizers and never-ending wine. (When will I learn that I always have one glass too many?) I only knew half of the fabulous women before arriving, but loved the other half I met enough to friend them on Facebook. I think this is rare. Usually, you meet new people, enjoy chatting with them and don’t give it another thought. I don’t know if it was the combination of wine and pajamas, but I am a fan of all of these gals.
AND, I went home with fabulous pajamas – deliciously soft light blue reindeer pants with a tank top that had a reindeer with a TIARA! These pajamas were clearly designed for me. Our hostess also gave us each a pair fo sexy underwear, which is great, because since becoming a mom, my underwear isn’t always sexy!
In addition to enjoying myself and drinking a tad more than I had planned, I also learned many valuable lessons. Unfortunately, some of them are too delicate to share on my blog, but think of women, wine and sleepwear and imagine the conversations! So here’s a few things I can pass on:
- Comfort is more coveted than sex appeal. All of the pajamas were beautiful, but some of the most fought over were the kind of thing you hate to take off even to wash!
- When you hope to prevent your gift from being stolen, stuff it in your bra!
- Not wearing underwear with a thick seamed pair of work-out pants might lead to pleasure… (note this is tamer than the lessons I can’t write about…) I should also say that one piece of advice in particular was so appreciated by my husband that he encouraged me to spend much more time with this group of women!
- Men mistake hot flashes for an invitation. Just because the pajamas come off doesn’t mean…
- Book clubs are not just for readers, some just come for the wine!
- As I have said before, women will come up with any excuse to get together and drink. (Hell, I have even met virtually with a group of writers while we tweeted and drank wine).
At this party we talked about putting together a book club that would meet at a nightclub (yes, really) and it got me to thinking, what other “reasons” could we come up with to get together, drink some wine and laugh like school girls?
This is where you come in! What ideas do you have for a female get togethers? I am looking for something that sounds like it’s legitimate (so that husbands don’t think twice about watching the kids) like a book club, but can be done over cocktails. I am also a fan of anything that fuels humor and over-sharing!
Laughing is good for the soul and alcohol is good for everything else!
I know so many people having a tough week and it is only Wednesday. I have friends who are sick, ending relationships, struggling financially, praying for a miracle, hoping for a baby, grieving over the death of a friend or just plain burned out. As I said, it’s been a tough week. Like the people in my thoughts, we all need a little extra TLC sometimes.
My week will feel better if I can brighten someone else’s day. So here’s a few of the people I think are amazing:
- If you’re one of those mentioned above you’re in my thoughts and prayers more than you know. I am humbled by your grace and perseverance.
- My children’s teachers and caregiver - you are like miracle grow mixed with pixie dust!
- My kids – you know when to not push me any further (dinner last night) and you back pedal with giggles, hugs and kisses.
- My husband – words cannot describe.
- My fellow bloggers and writers – I have never met most of you but you motivate me and inspire me.
- My friends – you keep me balanced, you’re there when I cry, you make me laugh and you don’t blackmail me.
- Those who spend their time helping others.
- Anyone who shows kindness to a stranger – this truly makes the world better.
So here’s your challenge – tell someone they’re amazing. Write it, say it, sing it, do an interpretive dance. Just make the week better by making someone else smile, I bet you’ll smile too.