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I Quit

November 10, 2014 3 comments

No, I am not announcing my intention to quit blogging.  After a 2+ year unannounced sabbatical, that would just be silly. And anti-climatic. And a short-post.

But there are several things I am thinking about quitting (or not quitting) and I promised a friend that I would stop blogging in my head, so this post is for her!

Things I Am Quitting

  • Wearing workout clothes – I rarely workout these days, pajamas make more sense, but I will change them in the morning… sometimes.
  • Dieting – Life is stressful, food helps.  If I diet I will be more cranky and crazy than I am now.  That’s not good for anyone.
  • Exercising – If I am in my pajamas and busy eating, how could I possibly workout?
  • Playdates – Because my definition of playdate is sending the kids out the door in hopes that they find a neighbor. Because I suck at scheduling them and then feel guilty.  The only exception is when someone asks for my help (which I am truly happy to do) or my kids plan one while I am standing there (very effective and requires less back and forth texting).  I may wear a short to school that says “I am happy to have your kids over.  Put them in my car instead of waiting for me to offer” (good thing I am stopping the diet and exercise, that’s a lot for one shirt).
  • Saying tomorrow is a new day – tomorrow will be a list of things I should have done today in addition to tomorrow’s to-dos.  Tomorrow will taunt me and make me miss today.  Tomorrow is a jerk.
  • Pretending I know how to juggle.  If I do one thing in my life well, the others suffer.  I don’t know how to balance it and be sane, which leads me to…
  • Sanity – it is over-rated and so damn hard to achieve.

Things I Am Not Quitting

  • Self-deprecating humor – If I say it before someone else it doesn’t hurt so bad. Especially useful at work, where I do a ‘Daily F*&% Ups Recap’.  With so much on my plate, things are starting to fray like a bad pair of 80’s denim cut-offs
  • Drinking – Wine and Vodka (no not mixed together… usually…) keeps the men with the nice white coat from putting me in the nice padded room.
  • Wishing I could write more – Because it’s healthier than wine and vodka.
  • Remembering that many people are chasing that elusive balance.  Balance is like an Elvis sighting, they happen from time to time, but aren’t believable.
  • My job – Because it fulfills me it pays the bills.  As soon as I find the money tree in my backyard, I will have a whole new blog.  For now, I just have a lot of holes in my backyard – watch your step.
  • Swearing – It’s cathartic.
  • Friends – I have a 60+hour per week job and 2 kids in school and sports.  I only have help four hours per week.  I don’t see any of my amazing friends as much as I’d like, but knowing they exist is much better than imaginary friends.
  • My husband and kids – the three most amazing blessings God could give me.  They make everything worth it (although often contribute to my insanity)
  • Recognizing the humor in life’s challenges.  I can’t commit to laughing, but I will observe said humor with a smug look on my face.

I Quit

What are you quitting or not quitting?

The Compliment That Almost Broke My Heart

My husband and I went together to drop my daughter off at preschool last Friday.  We don’t typically go together, but it was the end of a long week and we thought it would be fun.  As we were walking back to our car, one of the other moms stopped us as she was walking in.

“You two are so cute, coming together!  I don’t know how you do it, you both work full-time, but you’re always smiling, you’re very involved with your sweet kids and I can only imagine that your house is amazing.  And you, Paige, look great”.  My husband I both started laughing in disbelief. I glanced down at my short, average body and glanced back at her tall slender frame and thought she must usually wear glasses.

“Just hide in my house for a day and you’ll see why I always say, ‘don’t look behind the curtain’.  You’ll hear me yelling, you’ll see the messes and you’ll figure out that I am crazy, but thank you, you are very kind”, I said as we headed to the car.

That brief interaction sent me into a tail spin.  I started mentally listing, by category, all of my faults and short comings:

Positive and Smiling?

  • I typically only use the F word when I am upset.  I use the F word daily, multiple times per day.
  • My best friend thinks I should pay her as much as I pay my therapist.
  • When it comes to parenting, I have been asked to write a book… on what not to do!

Amazing House?

  • If the kitchen cabinets aren’t re-done soon, the house may be condemned
  • There is always mold in my shower!
  • I am better at math than decorating, and I barely passed high school math.

This list continued as I walked back into the house.  By the time I sat down to my computer to work.  I was on the edge of a melt down.  I felt like a fake.  How could this high energy, fit, sweet mom be praising me?!  I decided to write this blog post on how upset I was to be given praise that I didn’t deserve.

Then the most magical thing happened…

Before I could start this post, I checked my email.  In my inbox was a post from one of my favorite bloggers, Julie Gardner.  The post was entitled, ‘Today Call me Enough’, as she was guest posting on the blog, “Just Be Enough“.  Hello?!  Before you even visit the blog, which you should, the title should be smacking you in the face – it left a big nasty red mark on my cheek!  Here’s the magical part… I read it and stopped making my ‘why that sweet mom is crazy and I don’t have it together’ list.

I have decided the appropriate response to the sweet mom at preschool is thank you

Thank you for recognizing that I work full-time but make parenting my priority.  Thank you for pointing out, when I couldn’t see it, that I do a pretty damn good job of juggling it all most of the time.  Thanks for not expecting me to be perfect, even though I sometimes am crazy enough to expect that of myself.  I have tons of help from my husband and others, but I do the best I can.  It’s not perfect, but it’s enough

It’s interesting, I have no trouble listing my failures and flaws on this blog.  I use humor to mask the negative feelings, but at the end of the day, I am comfortable being truthful if it helps others feel “normal”.  It’s much harder for me to share my accomplishments and pride.  I thought about creating a second list of all the great things I do, but find it too hard to “brag”.

Why is it so much easier to focus on the negative instead of celebrating the positive?  I always push friends and family to celebrate their strengths, I tell them not to be so hard on themselves.  I marvel at their greatness, but I am relentless in measuring myself.  I think many of us fall into this camp.  We push ourselves so hard to be perfect, to succeed and ultimately just drive ourselves crazy… or to drink… or to chocolate. 

Since Friday, when I have felt ambition or perfectionism getting the best of me and when I set my intention at yoga on Saturday, it was simply, “Just Be Enough” and you know what, I already am.  On the days when I’m ‘not enough’ or ‘slightly off balance’, it’s still enough, but with extra amusement.

Do you want to do something brave?  Do you want to help me be brave?  Comment on this post with one of your strengths or one proud moment.  Did you make an amazing dinner?  Did you rock the project at work?  Did you finally catch up on your laundry (at least for one day)?  Did you get some quality time with your kids?

Need more inspiration?  Watch this short video from Brene Brown about the Gifts of Imperfection and being enough.  I am currently reading her books and her work is resonating with me. 

Finally, give yourself a pat on the back for being amazing just the way you are.

My Speech to a Judgy Mom

December 17, 2011 10 comments

Tonight is my daughter’s first ballet recital.  She is excited, as am I.  But I have a little unpleasant business to attend to while I am there.

One of the other mothers from the class is on thin ice with me (seasonally appropriate don’t you think?).  Last night at rehearsals, I found her to be so offensive and clueless that she has penetrated my normally namaste demeanor (I am on my way to yoga shortly). 

The first time I met Judgy Judy (too much like Judge Judy) “Judgy Janet” (not her real name, in fact, I can’t seem to remember her name), was at the park.  I was with my daughter and Janet said hi to her by name.  I walked over and introduced myself and she explained that the girls are in ballet together.  I said, “Oh then you must know our nanny, Jessica” (who takes my daughter to ballet).  She interrupted and said, oh yes, I have known Jessica for years, and I always wonder “Where IS this girl’s mother!”

Eh hem, excuse me, while I capture my composure and take one step back to help diminish the cartoon in my head of me shoving tan bark in your mouth to silence you.

The conversation didn’t improve, she talked about how she used to work, but quit because she wouldn’t dream of letting other people raise her children (although, it might be better off for her daughter if someone else taught the girl tact).  Throughout this first conversation, I remained calm and polite.  I was internally trying to determine if the woman was a condescending bitch or just socially awkward.  I decided she might be just lonely and awkward, so I didn’t say anything in rebuttal.  But the conversation bugged me for a few days.

Fast forward to last night.  It was the only second time I had spoken with her since I do not attend my daughter’s ballet class very often.  I attended the rehearsal with another working mom friend whose daughter is also in the class.  We were sitting with our girls, waiting for their turn, when Janet sat down behind us.  Her opening comment: “You must be their mothers. You never come to class.”  The conversation didn’t improve.  My strategy was to keep my back to her, in order to avoid giving her a piece of my mind in front of the girls.

Which leads to tonight.  Me, the duck, who normally lets things roll off my back is quite sure that one more comment from this miserable mom will force me to politely share with her my thoughts.  Much to your surprise, I do mean politely, because I am a believer in having more weight in my message when coming from a place of kindness, balance and class.  So let me share with all of you what I plan to say (and secretly hope I have the opportunity to do so).

“Excuse me, I am not sure if you are aware that you are being rude.  In the two times I have spoken with you, you have mentioned my absence at ballet over ten times.  I am trying to decide if you realize you are being rude or have merely made an unfortunate choice in conversation topics.  Either way, I feel you are in desperate need of some education.  It is narrow of you to make any assumptions regarding someone’s life or how one raises children based upon their attendance at one activity. 

I share this with you not out of concern for my own feelings, but to help you avoid offending other’s who are not as calm and forgiving as me.  You see, you don’t know what keeps a mother from a ballet class – what if she’s a single mom and working to put food on the table, what if she’s an ER doctor that may someday have to help one of your children, what if she’s at home with a newborn.  The point is, an absence does not speak to the character of a woman.

Furthermore, since my absence is because I have a career, let me share the “consequences” of me being a working mom:

  • My children are independent, but loving
  • They are confident, yet kind
  • They are comfortable in any social situations
  • They are being taught that they can be anything they want when they grow up.  My daughter can be a pilot, a doctor or a stay at home mom – each holding equal weight in my mind.  My son can be a CEO, an artist or a stay at home dad, as long as he is passionate about what he does.
  • My children travel frequently and see other cultures and have unique memories, while always returning to a happy home. 
  • And most importantly, we are rasing our children not to judge other people based on their profession, home, socio-economic status or any other life situation.  We choose our friends based on character and kindness and see the benefit of diversity in our circle of friends.

So, do you think she’ll stay quiet long enough for me to say all of that?

I’ll keep you posted.

The Truth Behind A Working Mom’s Resume

October 11, 2011 7 comments

I have been thinking a lot about the balance of my career and being a mother.  In other words, I am still struggling to balance the two.  I have come to the conclusion that I cannot permanently solve this issue of balance, but rather attack it every day and set new priorities everyday – generally based on who is screaming the loudest.

What has helped me with my daily prioritization is having one über focus.  I have decided that I am a mom before anything else.  So as I read the summary of my resume, I decided it might need some editing…

Yes, this is really my summary of qualifications…  I am in HR and can’t believe I thought this was useful…

  • Professional and effective communicator with the ability to establish a positive rapport with internal and external customers
  • Responsible and competent in high pressure situations, motivated and willing to put in 110%
  • Successful in leading and managing projects
  • Contributes to process improvement and strives to enhance job effectiveness
  • Demonstrates innovation and helps achieve company wide goals through meeting challenges and exceeding expectations

Now here is a more realistic copy, who wants to hire me now?

  • Professional and effective communicator with the ability to establish a positive rapport with internal and external customers, unless I have been up all night with a sick child.  If that is the case, I stick to one syllable words and that sounds more like gibberish than communication.  Positive rapport? Unlikely.
  • Responsible and competent in high pressure situations, motivated and willing to put in 110% on some days.  If it is my classroom volunteer day, my child’s birthday, the first day of school, the last day of school or sunny outside, I am willing to put in 72%.
  • Successful in leading and managing projects only because I have learned the art of delegating so that I can spend more time with my kids.
  • Contributes to process improvement and strives to enhance job effectiveness these are only so that I don’t have to work as hard to get the same results so I can spend more time with my kids.
  • Demonstrates innovation and helps achieve company wide goals through meeting challenges and exceeding expectations the challenges I like to focus on include how to work less and spend more time with my family and I hope to exceed my children’s expectations of being present for them.

What is the truth behind your resume? 

Speaking of spending more time with my kids, I made the very tough decision not to pursue my coaching dream at this time.  I don’t want to give a serious passion anything less than my best.  As I take stock of my life right now, there is no room to give my best to anything else.  Hell, I can’t even give mediocre to anything else right now.

I am having a serious struggle with work life balance right now (as evidenced by my lack of writing) and just can’t pull any more time out of my a.. (absolutely crazy schedule, ahem).  So I am focusing on restoring balance not going insane, and getting back to blogging (as I miss it and all of you) and will revisit coaching when my schedule permits.  Thank to all those who have provided amazing support!

Now seriously, what’s going behind your resume?  Tell the truth.  The truth is always more delicious.

Pay It Forward with My Coaching Dream

September 16, 2011 6 comments

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?

Imagine a messier life?

September 15, 2011 11 comments

Imagine you were given the gift of four days to tune out all other distractions and focus on your passions, your hopes and dreams.

Suppose you were supported by a group of strangers who are now dear friends.  These people helped identify roadblocks to your dreams AND ways to bust through them.

Picture sitting in a beach community being encouraged to chase your dreams and live your life on your terms and by your personal priority list. 

Between the sounds of seagulls and waves crashing you hear people saying ‘go for it’, ‘you can do it’ and ‘you deserve it’.

No, I did not have a wonderful dream, sustain a head injury or consume too many cocktails at book club.  (That was all the week before! 😉

Last weekend, I lived this experience.  I spent four days in Santa Barbara, attending the Life Launch program I told you about.  This program gave to me what I hope to give to others; a sense that you’re not alone, that people are in your corner, that anything is possible.  It focused on the good in each person and supported each person’s life journey.  I was reminded this weekend that everyone is slightly off-balance; that we all have fears and obstacles, but with the right support, we can do great things.  This weekend was a prelude to a coaching certification I hope to obtain, when the time in my life is right. 

That time for that certification maybe now, if I can figure out how to juggle work, family and an intense 8 months program that requires 10-12 hours per week.  Stop laughing!  Or at least bring it down to a giggle.  I know, ‘where I am going to find the time’?  If I do this, will I miss more soccer practices, ballet or my own yoga classes?  Will my husband forget that I even knew how to cook dinner? (Hmm… this might be a benefit).  Will I completely disappear from this blog  – I have already been delinquent as of late.  Will people think I am selfish for adding something else that is about me?  Will the mold in my showers run rampant?  Will I start to wear dirty clothes and stop washing my hair?  Okay, I already don’t wash my hair that often… Life would certainly get messier.    But maybe a messier life is a fuller life.  Maybe, messy is good.  You can’t argue with the fact that an empty room may be clean, but is empty, whereas a messy room is full of living; mementos of life’s adventures.  (Do you think my husband will buy any of this?)

These are all questions I have to answer, but my gut is telling me to give it a shot.  I have a little more research to do and I’ll keep you posted.  But I’ll make you a promise, I may have less time to blog, but I’ll try to post the messy pictures! 😉

Intuition

July 29, 2011 6 comments

I just read a series of articles in the most recent Oprah magazine about intuition.  As a mother, I have always believed in intuition, but I also feel I am more intuitive than some.  I have been trying to listen to my intuition more lately. 

My intuition is a big driver in exploring new careers.  As I stop and listen to that little voice, she has become louder and more definitive in where she’s trying to lead me.  My intuition has had to overcome the bully that is my intellect.  My intuition has been quietly whispering to me that a more purposeful and passionate career is out there, but that bully, my intellect, kept stepping in and drowning out my intuition. 

Intellect told me how fortunate I am, I have a great career, a loving family and wonderful friends, how dare I want more.  Intellect told me that those crazy ideas coming from my intuition were risky and half-baked.  But my intuition is like the little engine that could, it quietly persisted, and it built up steam.  I would sit in a meeting or work on a project and my intuition would suggest how what I was doing could be leveraged in a new role.  Intuition is sweet, she validates the choices I have made thus far and has shown me how they could be a path to my next stop.  The more I listened, the easier it was to see new possibilities.

For my intuition to work well for me, I have had to give her respect.  I have had to publicly stand by my intuition with conviction in order to get others to listen to my intuition.  You might ask yourself, who else needs to listen to my intuition – uh, my husband!  He’s in operations, he believes in data, research and is a dedicated follower of intellect.  Imagine his reaction when I went to him several months ago and said, “something tells me that I am meant to do something different”.  He and his intellect, joined forces with my intellect and really challenged my intuition.  But overtime, I have shared the points my wise intuition have made and even my intellect-driven husband is now supporting me exploring other options.  (He did make some “irrational” demands like, not giving up my current income and researching my ideas before jumping with both feet).  But we’re all a work in process. 😉

The more I listen to my intuition, the happier I find myself.  My intuition is my best ally and she helps me with career ideas plus so much more.  As a mom, I have always listened to parenting suggestions from my intuition, but now I listen to my intuition around choices with friends and family as well.  So far intuition has not steered me wrong (as long as you don’t count 80’s wardrobe choices!).

As proof of this, here are some of my intuitive moments from today:

  • My house is quiet, but my kids are home, I sense trouble
  • I heard the toilet flush more than once, I sense trouble
  • My daughter is holding my son’s Lego, I sense trouble
  • My son has asked for glue, but told me not to worry, I sense trouble
  • I sense a cocktail in my future

See!  This intuition girl knows her stuff!  You know what else, my intuition told me?  That I have some amazing opportunities on the horizon.  She also told me I am very fortunate to have a network of friends to support me in this journey!  Why wouldn’t I listen to someone who tells me what I am hoping to hear?!

Are you an intellect or an intuition person?  Maybe a combination of both?

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