The Working Mom Gap

 

 

The kind of working mother you are.

Vs.

The kind of working mother you want to be.

You want to be the working mom that goes on school field trips, bakes cookies for the bake sale, goes to all the soccer practices, makes a home cooked organic meal lovingly crafted with produce from your garden, rocks 4 inch heels, gets her hair trimmed on schedule, pays all the bills on time, socks money away in savings, has a firm ass, goes on 5 star vacations and has the adoration of her kids, her husband and her boss.

Reality?

You’re the working mom who goes on one field trip a year (if that – and it’s only because you wanted to visit the planetarium anyway), buys cookies from the store for the bake sale if you actually remember, you go to soccer games but miss practice, you cook at home a few times a week, go out for dinner the rest. You have a “garden” full of beautiful plants, they might be weeds. You embrace flat shoes, trim your own hair when it gets unbearably scraggly, have $26 in savings, dreams of a firm ass – or might be able to call it firm if you flex it hard enough. You staycation and have the adoration of your kids, your husband and your boss.

 

See what happened there?

Your husband, kids and boss still adore you. (wink)

They don’t give a rats ass about the kind of person you want to be.

They only care about the person you are…right now, and that you’re there.

That you show up and wear your hat. Your mom hat, your wife hat, your amazing PowerPoint presenter hat.

So what do you do when the vision you hold for yourself is so far from reality it makes your heart hurt?

 

You adjust your vision, your reality, or both.

Want to grow a garden but are lacking time, or just don’t know where to start? Get your veggies from your local farmer’s market, plant one herb in a pot, and feel damn good about it.

Ask your kid how soccer practice was. Then look him in the eye, drop your smartphone and listen to him through the whole story of how he kicked the ball, scored on the coach. Listen until he’s done.

Do 10 squats every morning while you brush your teeth. Instant firm ass….even if it’s just padded.

Make no changes, and make peace with reality. The people you care about love you.

Make a tiny tweak to one area of your life at a time. Feel good about it.

Redefine what good means to you. Feel good about it.

Remember, you don’t need to be the best wife / mom / employee in the world. Feel good about who you are, today.

Close the gap.

 

What tweak will you make today to close the gap between being the person you are and the person you want to be?

10 reasons why having kids + a job rocks

 

Being a mom can be hard.

Being a stay at home mom can be hard.

Being a working mom can be hard.

Consensus – it can all be hard.

If we let it.

I’ve never loved the term, “working mom”, because all mom’s work. Having a kid is work from the second you start growing that little bean.

For almost seven years of my professional life, I’ve done it while being a mom. I have minimalist hacks to share with you. I plan on putting them into a book, that I’m writing….TODAY!

Today, I’m not talking about struggle. Let that shit go.

Instead, I’m going to share with you 10 reasons why having kids + a job rocks.

Top 10 reasons why I love having kids and a job

  1. Quiet car rides
  2. Talking to grown ups
  3. Using different brain-parts
  4. Work is more relaxing than mom-ing all day
  5. If my husband lost his job we wouldn’t be eating cat food (well, right away anyway)
  6. I want my kids to see their mother do work she enjoys outside of housework
  7. Kids are the BEST excuse for taking sick days (whether they’re sick or not). “Kid is sick, not coming in today”. No need to make up elaborate stories about bad lamb chops.
  8. Paychecks
  9. A great excuse when I need hubs to pick up the slack with the kids, “honey, I have to work tonight, can you put the kids to bed?”
  10. Giving my kids a super gigantic hug at the end of the day

Why do you love the job + mom role?

start with the truth

Got a difficult email to write? Start with the truth.

Boss asked you to write the marketing department and tell them they’re not going to get their new features? Start with the truth.

Need to back out of making 48 cookies for the bake sale? Start with the truth.

Need to quit your job? Start with the truth.

Want to say no to the big deal? Start with the truth.

Dying to tell the handsome fella you’ve been seeing for a few months that you love him? Start with the truth.

 

Okay, so start with the truth, then what?

Start with the truth, then edit. 

This is my best writing advice for writing hard things.

Take a breath [or 10], clear your brain cobwebs and just let the truth pour out. Don’t edit as you write. Let it all fall out.

When you’re done, revisit and edit. Step away. Edit 5 minutes later, an hour later, or after a week. Whatever it takes.

Pro tip: if it’s an email, populate the recipient email address after you’ve finished the message.

just say balls

 

 

When walking to my car [ahem, minivan racecar] after work I heard some young medical students talking behind me. A young guy, mid-twenties maybe was telling a story to two girls as they walked towards the el [Chicago for subway].

“I had this patient the other day, a male, about 25.”

First, I thought it was funny how he described his patient as male, 25. It sounded so very medical-ish.

“I asked him if he had any testicular pain.” He continued.

“What’s a testicular?” The patient asked.

“Testicles.” The pre-med dude said.

“What are testicles?” asked the patient, not understanding what the doctor was referring to.

 

What the student said next is what baffled me.

“I wanted to tell the guy, YOUR BALLS DUDE, YOUR BALLS! But I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to say “BALLS”…. so I had to ask.” He finally said.

 

As he said this my eyeballs popped out of my head. Of course the med students couldn’t see me because I was ahead of them by this point.

Let me ask you this.

Do you want to live in a world where you need permission to say BALLS?

BALLS, BALLS, BALLS, BALLS, BALLS, BALLS, BALLS, BALLS, BALLS!!!!!!

Do you want to hear professionals use big words and jargoned-up speak?

Or do you want to hear plain language?

Do you think big words with oodles of syllables make you sound smart?

Are you worried what people will think of you if you write with simple words?

Will they think you dumbed it down? Will they think you’re dumb?

Absolutely fucking not.

Writing clearly and simply makes your reader’s life easier. They have to do less work to decode your message.

They get to save their precious brain power for their own work. Not for reading your sentences.

Day made.

 

If you can’t write something clearly, there’s a chance you’re dumb. Simplify the message. Move on.

Don’t write for your friends, write for your audience. Always.

 

 

most people think a vacation will fix this

When you need a vacation, you might need a new life instead.

“Who’s excited to go back to Chicago?” Ry asked as we sipped our Starbucks at the Tampa airport gate.

Spoiler alert: no one was excited.

Well, the kids were excited to see their cat.

“This just feels so wrong!” I blurted out. I couldn’t help it.

“We’re coming back from vacation.”

“Why does it have to feel so shitty?”

A vacation will only make you feel better for a little while. Kinda like that piece of chocolate cake.

I want to live the kind of life I don’t need a vacation from. Is that a pipe dream? Is it possible?

Can I find the kind of enjoyment I find in vacation in everyday life?

Can I do this in my current job?

Can I do this where I live right now?

 

If you went through these questions and the answer was no, no, no. Will this turn into a life of:
“When I [do the thing, get the job, the money,], I can enjoy my life.

Well, what If you don’t?

Memento mori.

Memento mori is Latin for remember death.

It’s not meant to be morbid or scary. A simple reminder to remember. Kind of like remembering the milk.

What if I die?

Well, this is not really an “if” question. It’s a when. Last I checked the death rate was hovering right around 100%. 

I’m not suggesting we live our lives in a way that we live with reckless abandon, quit our jobs and stay home watching soap operas and drinking a bottle of wine all by yourself. [I totally won’t judge if you do].

 

What I am suggesting, is you show up. Fully, completely, balls-out, SHOW UP.

This is damn hard. Try 5 minutes. Show up for 5 minutes of your day. See if you can find just an inkling of “okay, this is cool” in those shitty moments.

Standing in line.

Annoyed by a lame customer service rep.

When the waiter brings you regular pasta when you asked for gluten-free.

If you think about the end of your life, how will this change this very, agitated, hair-pulling moment?

How will you memento mori today?

art courtesy of https://joaomalaquias.wordpress.com

don’t make this mistake when watching a sunset

 

 

 

This.

Sunset_a-holes

I’m writing this to you from Treasure Island, Florida. The meeting place of Ry and I. It all started right here 13 years ago. Well, actually it started here.

I promise to tell you the story of how we met very soon. You’ll find it quite entertaining, especially Ry’s version.

After a long day of traveling – a day that started at 3 am, followed by parking lot yelling [mostly me], and a 3-year old who refused to carry her own luggage, we dropped the kids off at Grandma’s and bolted out the door to enjoy a kid-free, fuss-free dinner where Ry proceeded to devour a steak that was really meant for two people. There was no free t-shirt involved, or a free anything.

Halfway through the jumbo sea scallop appetizer, I reminded him that we have not watched a Treasure Island sunset together in all these years! WTF? 

All 13 of these years.

I begged him to sit on the beach and enjoy the sunset with me.

He didn’t want to go. He whined. A lot.

“I’m tired.”

“I don’t want to get all sandy.”

WAAAAHHHHHH

I dismissed his whining with a wave of my hand and said, “Shut up, you’re watching the sunset with me. Let’s go.”

And off we went.

As far as sunsets go, it was nice. A flurry of red, orange, pink and yellow made their graceful appearance across the baby blue sky. It was relaxing, calm, and serene, complete with the warm salty breeze you’d expect to mess up your hair as it blew off the Gulf. Because, sexy beach hair.

It was a sunset that made you feel all the feels that sunsets are supposed to make you feel.

DON’T DO THIS…

As we sat on the bench, we noticed dozens of people were rushing out to catch the same sunset. Except these people had a slightly different viewing experience.

They had their smartphones in hand, ready to take a selfie as if their lives depended on thumbing that little camera icon with nothing more than a flinch.

Thanks to Facebook and Twitter I have tendencies to think in 140-character status updates. I wondered what the selfie-takers were saying.

“I was here, look at me, I’m the kind of person that watches sunsets….and brings my phone because…the internet.”

Lovers were standing next to each other, both of them with their phones in hand snapping pics of the sunset.

Families were sitting together with one parent  ignoring their kids and taking pictures of the sunset.

Important lesson: YOUR PHONE WILL NEVER CAPTURE THE ESSENCE OF A SUNSET. NEVER. 

It may create a reminder for you of the sunset you watched that one time in Treasure Island. But you will miss the feeling. 

Next time, I dare you…watch the fucking sunset.

 

 

how to have a ridiculously sexy (but classy) airport kind of hug

You haven’t seen your husband (sub for wife, partner, etc. of your choice) for like two weeks. Twelve days and seven and a half hours to be exact, but who’s counting? It’s been a long few weeks. You miss him. You’ve been replaying the moment where you get to see him again. Over, and over in your mind.

His plane touched down. You know this because you’re stalking the airport arrival screen at the airport like the fat kid and the ice cream truck. You also subscribed to flight status notifications and have been checking it all day, more than Facebook.

Arrived.

This means he’ll make his appearance very soon. I wonder how long it will take him to go to the bathroom? I hope he doesn’t stop for a snack or anything.

Like at a concert when the lights go off, everything is quiet. Your mind is quiet. You quickly scan everyone’s faces as they glide down the red carpet of airport arrivals.

You spot him.

Smile.

Sigh.

You meet him halfway. Drop your bags and throw your arms around him, breathing in the scent of his neck. Like musk and marshmallows. For 30 seconds you’re the only two people in the universe, and the only two that matter.

Right now.

Some people dread the airport. They haaate it. I get it. It’s easy to complain about pushy people in the Southwest open seating line, delays, diversions, and the the never-ending fun of the comedy routine that is the TSA security check point.

If this sounds like you, I invite you to shift your focus to another part of the airport – the arrivals. 

In the airport arrival “holding” area, where people anxiously await the arrival of someone they love, and miss the crap out of, they all look happy, hopeful and totally present.

They carry flowers.

They brush their hair.

They’re wearing lip gloss.

And deodorant.

 

They’re focused.

In that split second, when they catch a glimpse of the special person they were waiting for.

What happens next is magic. And the most fun to watch. When I was at the airport a few weeks ago picking up my sister, I happily told her I’d get there early and would wait inside for her – so I could airport-hug-watch!

Hugs that are vise-grip tight, like a squeeze of the $30 bottle of face cream you refuse to waste a drop of.

Eyes closed, won’t let go.

Face grabbing kisses (save the French kiss for later, s’il vous plaît.)

Compliments. You look soooo goooood!

There’s so much joy in the arrivals area, maybe airports should share the arrival love in the departures area. Maybe the departures could stream a live feed of the arrivals, instead of the news.

Delayed another 30 minutes? Watch these people hug the shit out of each other. Warm fuzzies.

What if when the love of your life comes home tonight you surprised them with an airport kind of greeting?

Well, they might wonder what’s wrong with you. Or worry about what you did. If Ryan did this to me, I’d wonder if there was a new Harley in the garage, or a new animal on it’s way.

Weirdness aside, I promise, if you try it, you’re making a bold move. You’ll put yourself out there. And you know what? You’ll be okay.

Today, greet someone you love like you’re having an airport reunion, just for the hell of it.

 

play with your edge

 

In yoga class as I teeter in half moon pose, balancing my body weight on my right leg and right hand, both stretched out straight while pushing to get my left leg parallel to the floor and my left arm towards the sky. If I lean too far back, I’ll fall over. Negotiating the space between stretch, balance and pushing myself, looking awkward as hell.

“Find your edge.” I hear the cheery yoga instructor say. “Play with it”.

I played with it, and fell over a few times. I learned how far I can lean before falling. I found my half moon edge.

Fast forward about eight months. I read this article, Marching off the edge of the map the day after I thought I was going to fall off mine. Perfect timing.

A few weeks ago Ryan and I were lucky enough to take a kid-free vacation to the ultimate adult playground – Las Vegas. A bunch of us had plans to hop on a Harley and ride through the desert. By hop on a Harley I mean me tentatively climbing on the back, and putting my life in Ryan’s hands.

Having only been on the back of a bike no more than a dozen times, I was nervous.

It didn’t help I was (barely) handling more emotions than I knew what to do with. Travel began at 3am, all you can drink mimosas, and having to put down Wesley, my dog of 11 years over the phone. All by 10am.

The first time we rented a bike in Vegas I hung onto Ryan in a full body vise grip. I used all my strength to hold on for dear life with every inch of my body. I gripped his legs with my thighs, his back with my abs and his chest with every inch of back, shoulder and arm muscle. I squeezed so hard I shook.

Unreasonably scared? Maybe.

I survived.

We picked up the bike the next morning after breakfast and headed straight for Red Rock canyon. We opted for the 13-mile, one way, 35 mph max ride through the park. A perfect day and a slow ride with breathtaking scenery to warm up. In awe of the gorgeous scenery, I tapped Ry on the shoulder and yelled, “I need to live in the mountains!”

Friday was the big ride day. We decided to hit Hoover Dam before heading to the Laughlin River Run bike rally after fueling with high-octane from Starbucks.

What’s a bike rally you ask? Thousands of bikers, mostly men, loud rock music, beer, (no cider, WTF!? Does gluten not bother bearded, biker men?) and more t-shirts than the Gap for sale. No be-dazzler was spared in the making of the women’s t-shirts.

The dam was a 45 minute, easy ride from the strip. We got off the bikes to take in the sights, and try very hard not look down over the edge and quell my unreasonable fears of falling over the edge.

dam bridge

dam bridge

There’s a HUGE bridge that arches over the dam. With a warning today: High winds, high profile vehicles not advised. Oh crap. I seriously contemplated walking across the bridge and waiting for Ry to ride across. Ry laughed and told me to buck up.

After taking some dam selfies, we hopped back on the bike and headed towards Laughlin, but not before we had to cross…. the dam bridge.

We approached the bridge. I lowered my head just barely peeking my right eye over Ry’s right shoulder and being careful not to look down. I looked straight ahead, and held my breath. I almost fell off my edge right there. In my head I envisioned falling right over the side rails and plummeting to my death. With the bike landing on top of me to seal the deal.

We made it the other side. It felt like 10 minutes, it was probably 20 seconds. I survived. I can do this. I can do hard things. New edge found. Until…..

The next 100 miles made the bridge feel like a walk in the park for my nerves.

I had no idea we’d be riding IN the actual mountains. Update: I no longer want to live in the mountains. I want to live near them so I can look at them.

Every winding turn of the hundreds of turns we took that afternoon, we took at 60 mph, with me screaming at Ry, “SLOW DOWN“, the wind hammered me and wanted me to flip backwards off the bike.

Every turn we made, the only thing holding me on this planet was a rail. Beyond that rail was a big ass drop. I can’t tell you how high though, because if I looked, I’d barf.

I gripped Ry SO hard that my engagement ring sliced my finger open, there was blood. I was squeezing THAT hard.

About 40 miles away from Laughlin, NV, one rider was running low on gas.

YESS!!!!

I needed a break. I got off the bike, and ran with wobbly legs to find a place to lie down. I laid down, closed my eyes, and continued to shake. Trying rather unsuccessfully to gather myself.

I seriously contemplated renting a car to drive the rest of the way. As if there’d be a budget car rental just down the street in the middle of nowhere.

40 miles left, I can do this.

We made it. I played with my edge all day. Dangerously, uncomfortably close to my edge.

Found it. Right over there.

A few years ago I would have told you I will never get on the back of a motorcycle. Look at me now!

Where’s your edge?

What one event pushed you so far out of your comfort zone you thought you’d puke?

 

11 ways to an unfussy inbox

 

 

Inbox zero. Zilch. Nada. Big fat goose egg.

This how I like my inbox. With no emails that need my attention.

I love email. I love reading emails, I love writing them. I love finding the right words to say something with care, and writing nasty emails then deleting them…just to get the angst out. Never send a nasty email!

Ryan’s Gmail inbox at this moment: 175 unread emails.

175!!! It doesn’t seem to stress him out though, so I guess it works for him. He also only reads probably 1 of every 10 emails I send him.

If I opened my inbox to 175 emails I’d promptly slam my laptop shut and run for the hills.

In other words, I’d totally lose my shit. 

Regardless of your email “type”; inbox zero, or inbox who the hell knows, here’s some of my favorite tips to unfuss your inbox and get back to life, and have fun playing in your email sandbox.

These also go against most “conventional” email productivity advice. Screw em':

 

  1. Check your email when you want.  Many experts recommend checking once or twice a day. I like email. I enjoy connection. Someone took the time to arrange some letters for me and send them along on the interwebs. Check email when it feels right for you. If checking once a day makes sense on the weekend, do it. 10 times a day during the week, go for it. If you’re stressing about not looking at your email, you’re missing the point.
  2. Respond when you want.  If you just got an email from Bradley Cooper asking you to escort him to his latest premier, sure, respond right away. For everything else that doesn’t require an immediate response, take your time. Building a reputation as someone who responds to email right away will come back to haunt you. Flag emails that need responses and get to them when you can, or when you want to.
  3. Delete. Delete. Delete. If it doesn’t require a response, for the love of wine and chocolate, and all things holy. Just delete it. You’re not hurting anyone’s feelings.
  4. File or delete. If I don’t need an email right away, create an appropriate folder and file it. You may need to rename and organize folders from time to time. If you don’t need it. delete it. If you need it, flag it. Once you’ve dealt with it, delete it. Embrace delete. Delete is your unfussy friend handing you a frosty margarita.
  5. Auto reply is impersonal. If you check your email once or twice a day, setting up auto reply letting writers know this is a nice thing to do, but not necessary. I don’t like them because I find them impersonal and annoying. Oh, thanks for messing up my inbox zero. Just respond when you can and skip the auto reply. If you take a long time to respond, most people will assume you’ve got other stuff going on.
  6. Unroll.me. The greatest email tool ever for managing subscriptions ever.  I love reading the latest blog posts from my favorite bloggers, and checking the latest Southwest flight sale or Target coupons, but to be barraged with them ALL DAY LONG? Ain’t nobody got time for that!
    Unroll Me sends ALL your newsletter subscriptions (you pick which ones) in one tidy little daily email so you can read them all at once.  Plus an easy unsubscribe button to manage all your opt-ins in one place. Easy unsubscribe? Yes, please.
  7. Be stingy with newsletter subscriptions. Unsubscribe from everything or don’t look at them for a week. Go on a news diet. If what you’re reading is not helpful, inspiring or informative, unsubscribe.
  8. Unsubscribe, please. When you unsubscribe, sometimes there’s a text field to indicate why you’re opting out. Don’t be a jerk face. Say you love the emails, and will follow along on Facebook, you’re just cutting down on emails. It will make someone’s day better, I promise.
  9. Template that shit. If you find yourself typing the same thing over and over, create a template so you don’t have to retype the whole thing. I like to save mine in Evernote.
  10. Walk away. If you’ve been slaving over an email for an irrational amount of time trying to find just the right words. Step away, have a snack, cut your toenails, take a walk (yes, in that order). You’ll gain some much needed clarity to finish that baby up with finesse and get on with your day.
  11. Quality counts. On project teams I’ve been affectionately known as the quality guru. I say affectionately, but I really mean annoyingly. I secretly love it. Early in my career, a former boss once told me, “you’re too good at too many things to be bad at this.” Hello wake up call. And hello quality control checklists and me annoying people with, “did you give this a self review?”.
    You are not incompetent for asking for a second set of eyes on an important email. Exactly the opposite. You get respect for caring enough.

 

What would you add to this list?

 

 

 

 

 

11 things I no longer believe about the corporate world

JacquelineFisch

Maybe your parents had a blue collar job, or they were artists, or veterinarians, or veterans. Maybe they thought corporate America is the root of all evil, the devil, or everything that is wrong with the world.

This is a cop out.

Even if you’re more inclined for work in a start-up or the creative world, you can still do corporate. I’ve spent over 10 years “in it”, and figured out how to make it work, and even thrive.

Here’s 11 things I used to believe about the corporate world:
  1. Working more than 40 hours will get you ahead. Working long hours means something is wrong, either with staffing or your efficiency, figure out the holes. That will get you ahead.
  2. Quantity over quality. Focus on the task at hand so you produce quality work that requires little to no rework will make everyone happier.
  3. Corporate America is evil. This is an easy judgment to make. It’s not evil, it provides you all the things.
  4. It’s your identity. Having interests outside of work will make your work better.
  5. All corporations suck. They don’t. Keep your eye open for good ones, I did.
  6. You have to say YES to everything. If you respect your boundaries, other’s will too. Having the guts to say you’re not the right person for the job is better than cobbling your way through something that doesn’t align with your goals.
  7. You need to be the first one there and the last one out. See #1, if you’re at work this long, something is off. Have a life outside of the office.
  8. Working through lunch is essential. Taking a break, even if it’s too cold to go outside, just walk around, visit some colleagues or stare out the window. You’ll come back to work with new ideas.
  9. Sitting with a problem until I figure it out is the only way. There’s a better way, do something else, take a creativity break – listen to music, take a walk, doodle, write a poem. Solutions present themselves in the shower, remember?
  10. I need a mentor. A mentor is a great thing to have and can provide oodles of inspiration, but forcing someone to fit into the mentor role who isn’t quite right for you isn’t doing anyone any favors.
  11. There’s no room for creativity. I used to think that creative and work were two separate beasts. Creativity was stuff you did in your spare time, if at all. I learned that creativity breeds innovation at work, find a way to marry the two.

What do you no longer believe about the corporate world?