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7 Life Rules You Need in Writing

May 23, 2012 4 comments

I was on the phone with a friend last week and she was frustrated.  Her husband was trying to help out by making bacon, but he was burning it.  I teased her by saying, you can’t ask him to be more helpful and then criticize him when he tries.  She disagreed. 🙂

This sparked a conversation of the “life rules”.  The ones that we want others to follow, but that we occasionally want to break, such as ‘don’t ask for help then criticize it’.  So I have decided to publish in writing a “new” set of life rules to use at your discretion when you need life to work in your favor:

  1. Life IS fair.  This means that if something is unfair, you have the right to be upset, cranky and consume chocolate and wine.
  2. You CAN have your cake and eat it too.  Especially if you wash it down with wine.
  3. You CAN look a gift horse in the mouth. If you don’t like the gift or the strings attached to it.
  4. Treats others as you would like to treat them. Especially when you’re mad at them, they deserve it or you have run out of chocolate and wine.
  5. A penny saved is a penny wasted… if there is a sale on shoes!
  6. Good things come to those who DON’T wait.  Carpe diem baby, make things happen, take action!
  7. If you want something done, don’t give it to a busy person.  I am a busy person and can’t handle anymore.  Why should the people who aren’t busy get a pass?

And a few that are perfect just the way they are…

  1. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned – Two words: Lorena Bobbit.
  2. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die – Even if we know we will live for years, eat, drink and be merry!
  3. Tomorrow is another day – which means I have another opportunity to be a better mom demonstrate that I am enough.

What other life rules do you love or need revised?

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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.

3 Things Every Mommy Needs

April 25, 2012 7 comments

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!

  1. 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!

2. Vices

  • 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!

3. Friendship

  • 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!

Fluffy Robe Lover Meets Econo-Massage

October 26, 2011 11 comments

I love massages.  I love the fluffy robes, arriving early for the sauna and steam room and drinking the spiked water (spiked with citrus fruit or pineapple – what’s in your massage water?)

I consider myself a connoisseur of massages.  But scheduling a great massage requires some planning.  I don’t have time in my day for any more planning.  Therefore I usually end up waiting until I feel like a human pretzel and look like the hunchback of Notre Dame before trying to get on the schedule at one of my favorite place.  It goes something like this:

“Hi, I’d like to schedule a massage”

“Great, when would you like to come in?”

“Today please”

“Um, we’re pretty booked up, can you do 2:00?”

“No, that’s the one time I can’t do.  Could you squeeze me at 11:00 am”?

“I’m sorry ma’am*, we completely booked, perhaps another day?”

I think to myself: Another day?! I am in pain and need to be unpretzeled immediately, otherwise, chop me up and serve me with mustard!

*Ma’am?!  I have never smoked, I don’t have a gravely voice, nor do I have a soft or meek voice, I sound “average aged” in my opinion.  Could you please call me miss or chick or senorita?!  Uh-oh, is my “average aged getting older”?  I digress…

When my dreams of massage are massacred and I am faced with not needing to dress up for Halloween, I usually just resort to Advil and wine.  (Don’t judge, it’s later in the day in Europe!)

But now I have a new option…

The economy massage businesses that ar popping everywhere.  You know- massages, manicures, pedicures, waxing and without the fluffy robes, sauna and fruity water.  They look like a nail salon, sound like a nail salon and well, smell like a nail salon.  Which means… yep a nail salon with a back room.

I am leery of such places, but many of my friends has been raving about the new place (including a conservative friend in law enforcement), so I decide to go for it…

I approach the notion of the econo-massage place with the mantra, it’s cheap, you get what pay for so I set my expectations low.

I called to make an appointment.  They were wide open, could see me whenever I would like.

Should this be a red flag?  Nah, it’s cheap!

I get there and it really does smell like nail polish remover..

But it’s cheap!

She takes me to a private room.  This is actually a surprise to me, some places use a common area.

Cheap, but private, cool!

She tells me to take my clothes off (she does not say disrobe).

I think of the seedy “happy ending massage parlor” stories and decide I will be leaving my underwear on thank you very much. (I would ditch them at the comfy robe joints establishments.

She leaves the room and when she comes back she is someone else.  This seems odd to me.

But, hey it’s cheap.

She put on music.

Wow, nice touch for a cheap place.

She starts the massage and two minutes later she leaves.

Huh?  Massage code clearly dictates that once you start, you don’t stop.  If you have a runny nose, wipe it on your sleeve.  If you have to pee, hold it.  If you’re coughing, suck on a hot stone, but keep on rubbin’.

She comes back four minutes later.

This may be cheap, but I better get my 4 minutes!

It starts off fine, but never feels like it gets past the light touch warm-up.

This may be cheap, but dig into my sore muscles!

She asks how I am doing so I ask for more pressure.

“Later” she says.

It’s cheap, it’s cheap, it’s cheap.

The door opens and I hear my masseuse and another woman arguing in another language.  After TWO minutes, I lift my head up to glare at the women destroying my escape time and it’s the woman who walked me in!  I can only speculate there was some client stealing going on.  As I stare, they continue to argue.  When I say, “really?!”, it ends.

Cheap massage, cheap massage.

Then “later” hits… As I lay on my stomach, SHE CLIMBS ON ME. 

WTF?!

Her knees are digging into the back of my knees, she is putting all of her weight on my back with her hands.  I have gone from human pretzel to human jungle gym (something I am quite used to… with my kids, not strangers!)

It’s cheap, it’s cheap, it’s cheap.

Then I hear a metal on metal sound as she begins walking on my back.  I have heard this is a common technique, but how did I not notice the bars on the ceiling?  At least then I wouldn’t have been caught off guard?! 

It’s cheap, it’s cheap, it’s cheap!

As I lay there, I think, how did my conservative friend (and others) fail to mention the acrobatics?!  Fluffy robe and sauna, hell, I would settle for somebody on the ground!

When the massage ends, I flip my head up to make sure I got my extra minutes and I had.  She leaves the room and I decide this will be my last econo-massage.

So what do I do when it’s time to pay for the interrupted, arguing, climbing all over me massage?  I tip her generously, because I am sucker and leave.

Bottom line, busy moms who like fluffy robes, fruity water and massages done with hands should make an appointment in advance and treat it like a hair appointment – let nothing including sick kids get in their way!

Categories: Humor, Life, Uncategorized Tags: , ,

Mama’s Still Got It

October 13, 2011 13 comments

I am in Seattle on a business trip.  This is such a frequent occurrence, that I might be better off telling you when I am home.  Most nights, I go back to my hotel, eat dinner on my bed and work.  Hey!  I pull the sheets up, stop worrying about crumbs in the bed!  Furthermore, why are we discussing my bed?!

Last night was different.  I went over to the mall for a little retail therapy.  Well, based on my husband’s voice it may have been more than a little retail therapy… Let’s just say my credit fraud alert kicked in – no joke.  Wells Fargo literally shut me down as I was trying to purchase a coat at Nordstrom. (I assure you I overcame this obstacle!)  I share this much detail because it is fairly exciting that I was even in Nordstrom.  When I had kids, I gave up Nordstrom for Old Navy.  But let me tell you, Nordstrom and I are old friends and picked up right where we left off…

I digress.  Big shopping night out blah blah blah… this post is not about Mama still knows how to shop – she does I do (third person is weird)!  This post is about Mama’s still got IT.  You know, IT… getting picked up on! 

I was standing in Macy’s trying on coats.  I was admittedly trying to find a cheaper version of the Nordstrom coat I had already purchased – yes I do weird, time-wasting stuff like that!  I was looking in the mirror and saw a young guy standing behind me, I turned around because he seemed like he was going to say something.

Pause.  When I say young, I mean young.  No 5:00 shadow (and it was 7:00) and he might have been 25, maybe…

Anyhow, when I turned around, I startled him.  He stammered a bit and said, ‘oh, I am sorry…’  I asked him if he thought I was an employee and he stammered some more.  He said he thought I had a name tag.  I said there  were plenty of sales women floating around and turned back to my coats.

He didn’t leave and again looked like he was going to say something, so I turned back around. He stammered again and then asked if I worked around here.

Here’s the thing, I am shy.  STOP LAUGHING, I really am.  I rely on the other person to lead the conversation in a stranger situation like this.  I knew he was trying to make small talk and it was so unsettling embarassing to me that I began to stammer.  I said, ‘no, I live in California, well, yes I sort of work near here when I am in town’.  Shut up Paige and think of how to mention your husband! I turn my body a bit so my ring finger is showing, hoping that will send him on his merry, young boy, way, but he doesn’t seem to catch on.  Now I am even more embarrassed so I turn back to the mirror and he still stays!  AWKWARD!!  I want to just blurt out, ‘I am married!’  But I don’t want to seem presumptuous because maybe he was just admiring my coat for his age appropriate girlfriend.

He then asks ‘if you’re from California, why shop here?  Isn’t the shopping in California great?’  BAM – opportunity!  I turn back to him, smile sweetly and say, ‘I have two young children and shopping is so much more fun without them!’ I then turn back to the coats.

A millisecond later, he was gone!

So mama’s still got it.  She doesn’t know how to use it and doesn’t want to.  She’s uncomfortable with having it and hopes that nice young boys do not target her for being their personal Mrs. Robinson.

I know you still have it, tell me a story about your IT!

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?