Two weeks of business travel meant more full-day meetings than this work-from-home-mom is used to. I swear it takes a special sort of endurance to sit through a day long meeting, regardless of how engaging the topic is. To show my appreciation to all of you for coming back to read after my extended absence, I am now offering the following meeting survival services free of charge (and free of any proven effectiveness):
- Meetings Do’s and Dont’s
- Emergency Interventions
- Meeting Absence Excuses
Below is a sampling of each product:
Meetings Do’s and Dont’s
- Do not attempt to carbo-load through the meeting. There will not be a chance to burn it off and instead you will find yourself in a coma at 2:30 right when the vice president asks your thoughts on a topic you have confused for a Duncan Hines commercial.
- Do get up and stand in the back of the room, during a particular tedious section, while maintaining eye contact with the speaker. This will reduce the tingling in your backside, make you look more alert than the guy sitting next to you with his eyes half closed and likely keep you from being called on. But don’t stand too close to others in the back of the room, they might be back there because of their gas-inducing boxed lunch.
- Do drink lots of water. Yeah, it will keep you hydrated, but it also give you the excuse to use the bathroom frequently, at which point you can check Facebook or text a co-worker to stage a fake crisis to get you out of the meeting. Keep the crisis global, but vague. “Sorry, I have to slip out the India thing is going sideways.”
If you can’t make up an India Crisis (or some other work calamity) and escape is not an option, let me help you with a diversion. Send me a text when your boredom or chances of nodding off are dangerously high. I will lead you through a serious of “activities” to keep you “alert”. I cannot be responsible for you laughing out loud in a quiet conference room. Activities include:
- Identify the two worst hair-dos in the room.
- Categorize people by corporate cheerleader, just-here-for-the-paycheck, genuinely interested and looking for new jobs.
- Make up stories about what people are really writing in their notebooks.
Meeting Absence Excuses
If you’re one of those proactive types, it is best to come up with an excuse for not attending the meeting, such as:
- You’re having trouble with your eyes (you can’t see yourself sitting through that meeting)
- You’ve been approached on Twitter to do an interview with US News on your industry. It makes you sound hip, authoritative and important.
- Go with the good ol’ (and vague), “Gosh, wish I could make it, I am triple booked that day. Send me the slides, I am interested in the content.”
- You’re spending the day volunteering in your community. Let the meeting owner know you will be wearing your corporate t-shirt while you’re there. Volunteering always sounds like more fun than a meeting to me.
The choice is up to you – get out of the meeting, survive the meeting or turn it into extreme people watching. Whatever you choose, operators are standing by…
When it comes to parenting, they (whoever ‘they’ are) say “it takes a village”. I whole-heartedly believe this is true. As a working-mom, I rely on my village to make it all happen. Carpools, playdates, meal swaps – my village works together to make sure our kids are dropped off, picked up, fed, have presents for parties and uniforms for games.
But not just working parents need the village. Stay-at-home moms and dads need the village too. They need a break from their precious darlings or they need back-up when they have four kids playing two sports each with games in different parts of the state. Bottom line, all parents need a village.
What’s amazing about my village is how efficient it is, how seamlessly our villagers work to ensure the best for every child. The other day, my son was standing in front of the school waiting to be picked up. In the mere minutes that he waited, two of my friends checked to see if he had a ride. They talked to the mother picking him up to make sure he was taken care of. My son was not crying, he did not look distressed, but my friends in my village know the routine and they saw him in front a minute past when he normally is out there. They made sure he was accounted for.
Having a village full of aware, considerate friends is more valuable than a job, a pay check or any other material thing. My village watches out for my kids, shares tips and advice and picks me up on the low days we all have as parents. We celebrate as a village too. Lost teeth, passing the big test, learning to ride a bike; we rejoice as a village, thus making every celebration more monumental for our children. The village, and the people of my village are amazing, unique and keep me balanced.
Thank you to my wonderful village, you make my heart full and my worries less.
What do you want to thank your village for?
Yesterday was my birthday. When my husband woke up at 6:30 am to make me breakfast (I am a lucky girl), he found my six-year old son already awake, working hard on this:
“Dear mom, the hole family loves you, but the best part about you is eavin you loves yourself. You ceap M and I rilly safe in this house and we all love you, nomter what.”
“Happy Birthday MOM!”
“MOM you are a star.”
I love everything about this card, especially:
- The spontaneity, he did this on his own, without suggestion. He couldn’t sleep because he was excited to write it
- The fact that he values loving yourself. If I helped instilled that in him, I am thrilled.
- At an age where we discuss strangers, bad guys and monsters under the bed, he feels safe in his home.
- The statement, ‘I love you no matter what’ has stuck with him. I tell him this after I have to discipline him. It warms my heart that he heard me.
My son loves to write. He writes stories and illustrates them on his own. I love that he has a passion for writing.
I am humbled and touched that he so beautifully captured what I am trying to teach him. Knowing that my parenting efforts are reaching him is the best birthday present I could receive.
What’s the best birthday present you have received?
The wonderful thing about blogging is that you don’t see me! This was reinforced when the lovely Kelly at Dances with Chaos bestowed upon me the Stylish Blogger Award. I assume she must like my style of writing, also known as self deprecation, because if she could actually see me, she would not have used the word stylish – at least on a daily basis. Perhaps you think I am kidding when I say, I don’t get dressed every day or wash my hair every day. I am a wreck people! I need one of those fashion and beauty makeovers. Hint hint… I tried to do something new with my hair and my stylist said no, she didn’t think I could handle dramatic change! My 21-year-old nanny puts together my outfits for important occasions (like leaving the house).
But enough about my style, or lack thereof. Let me tell you about Kelly. Her kids are a little bit younger, but our challenges and fleeting sanity are the same. I love her combination of photos and witty writing. She is also the genius who taught me to take pictures of my kids messes so that I don’t kill them. I guess that also makes her a life saver.
In accepting the Stylish Blogger Award, I am supposed to write seven things you might not know about me:
- I am usually up for anything – if you can get me out the front door. I seem to lack initial motivation. Or the proper shoes.
- My nickname is the “Hostage Negotiator” or the “Devil’s Advocate”. In personality assessments its known as the stabilizer. I think it is just an upside to being a people pleaser, which is not always a good thing. So I am working on that, you know, pissing people off more and pleasing less.
- I am afraid of heights! As in anything above the second floor. I tried jumping off a bridge into a lake to cure my fear. It didn’t help. At all.
- I have had melanoma twice and am psychotic about sunscreen. But I still love all summer and water activities. And I refuse to wear sun protective clothing. Because I am so stylish. Ahem.
- The best compliment you can give me is to tell me I did something that made you feel good. Or that you can relate to something I said or wrote.
- I hate being cold, but I usually am, and I often over dress for any weather. And over dress my kids. Then my husband took away my kid dressing privileges. This is not related to my lack of style, just my lack of a functioning internal thermostat.
- I love food, drinks, hula-hooping and mildly inappropriate fun (okay, you probably already knew that about me!)
In order to continue to pay it forward, I must nominate six bloggers for this award. This is hard because there are so many amazing bloggers that frankly, it’s intimidating. But here are six bloggers that I feel make me a better writer.
- Lori Dyan – Her three-year old rocks the naked style, her 7-year-old might be a genius and I never miss reading what she writes. She has made me laugh so hard I have pee’d a little. What?! I said a little!
- Ironic Mom – Her motto is “If you can’t laugh at yourself, laugh at your kids”. She is my favorite brand of “real” mom!
- A Diary of a Mad Woman – Talk about stylish! She showed up to a lunch pregnant wearing fabulous red leather boots! And her writing is as powerful as her shoes.
- By Any Other Name – Julie is my sister separated at birth. Her posts are funny, they resonate to the point I think she might be stalking me (and I hope she is) and they come from the heart.
- The Life of Jamie – She recently referred to her daughter as “The Dirty Little Chapstick Thief” – what more do you need to know?!
- Working Mom Journal – I am afraid she may be to smart for me – she’s an engineer! But she is a working mom, wise beyond her years and I suspect she may be stylish too! She has a refreshing positive perspective and helps keep me balanced!
There you have it – six blogs you need to go read right now! Why are you still here. Go read, but come back and visit soon, okay? Pretty please.
The rules passed on to me say to accept this award you are:
- Supposed to link back to who nominated you.
- List seven things we might not know about you.
- Share the “love” and pay it forward by naming six other blogs you enjoy.
Our regularly scheduled programming has been interrupted for this special report:
Through an amazing twist of fate and good luck, I will be hosting Pursey Galore in February as she traipses across the continent in order to raise money and awareness for The American Stroke Association.
Many people don’t know that my father has been a Type I Diabetic since he was 4 years old. Diabetes has caught up with him (warning this links to a heart-felt post I wrote about my dad) and he is only 64. He has had triple bypass and suffers from a shot cardiovascular system. He has TIA’s on a regular basis. So when presented with an opportunity to support the American Stroke Association, I not only jumped at the chance, I bribed, cajoled and threatened purse napping!
I convinced Pursey’s owner, the lovely Lori at In Pursuit of Martha Points to ship her off to me, without a chaperone, for a long weekend in the snow with friends and 8 young children!
Pursey lives up to her sparkle and has had some wild adventures. But is she ready for a trip with my crazy college friends and their children? Will she be able to keep warm in the snow? Will she ski or board? Does she like Bailey’s and hot cocoa? We’ll have to see…
And if there is time when we return, before I have to send her on to her next hostess, I will plan a PurseyPalooza to subject Pursey to a
little A LOT of Suburbia Silliness!
Get your rest my sparkly diva! It’s going to be a wild ride!
Before you all get too excited, no, Madonna is not doing a holiday show.
The Blonde Ambition Holiday Tour is my plan for the next two weeks. My plan is to make the most of it being quiet at work, as well as having the kids home, in order to start the new year caught up, cleaned up and with some good habits. It is the Blonde Ambition tour because I am blonde (thanks to my stylist Yvette) and it’s one hell of an ambitious list.
In order to organize my efforts, I am separating the list into work and home. I am officially working this week and next week, but next week will be even quieter than this one. So I plan to focus on work this week and home next week. The work list is boring, so I won’t share it, but it sounds something like presentation blah blah blah email blah blah blah hire someone blah blah blah.
Home List (brace yourself):
- Make it to the gym at least four days each week to counteract the 12 Pounds of Christmas
- Clean-out my closet and give to charity – there are some clothes in there that would be better suited for an elf.
- Help my kids with their charity donations. Before their birthdays and Christmas I make my kids go through their toys and each fill a minimum of a 12 gallon trash bag with toys for charity. I explain that they have to give to others in order to receive. It’s a great lesson on helping those less fortunate AND it keeps my home from turning into residential Toys R Us. (When I got to bed at night, I don’t like any toys in plain sight).
- Clean-out my husband’s office – This is frightening. There is paperwork, empty router boxes and my kids’ school work from the last two years in there. It’s the embarrassing catch-all room and unfortunately it is in the same hall as the guest bathroom, so we need to make it look less like somebody threw up a recycling bin in there.
- Have at least three playdates for the kids and three “mommy playdates”.
- Upload pictures to Facebook and make discs for people.
- Visit family and friends 3 hours away, 1 hour away and 30 minutes away.
- Host Christmas dinner. I need a really good dessert recipe that will feed 10 – any ideas?
- Take down already dead tree and Christmas decorations on December 26th.
STOP LAUGHING! If you think it’s funny or even ludicrous to come up with this list of things to do during the holidays, aside from surviving the holidays, I agree. But when else can I get it done? I miss my friends and family, my kids have spent a lot of time at home with each other and organization and tidiness makes me swoon. Yes, I want to try for supermom despite repeated reminders from the universe that I crash after a couple of days of trying to do it all. But yet I keep trying. Why? Because I’m a fighter? My meds aren’t right? I am a glutton for punishment? I don’t know, but I am headed straight for completely off-balance in pursuit of balance.
It’s Monday at 12:30 pm, how am I doing so far?
- I took an hour-long beating in one of those circuit classes today. I should have known I was screwed when the warm-up was a mile run. (For those that don’t know me, I am not an athlete. For those that know me, you know that is an understatement).
- My son currently has a playdate and I am taking my daughter to a kids party this afternoon.
- I am going out for dinner with the girls tonight.
- I have a load of laundry in the washer – it should be in the dryer, but one thing at a time.
I am off to a good start. Now you may be thinking, this is boring, we don’t want to hear about all the good stuff you’re getting done. But trust me, when I fall on stage (we’re going back to the Madonna analogy), I do it with a bang!
Stay tuned for the pyrotechnics!