Own Your Story, Love Your Strength & Heal With Hope

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting Jeannette Walls, Author of the NY Times Best Seller, The Glass Castle. Her stirring memoir, detailing a childhood of poverty and trauma that would unravel most people, is among my all-time-favorite books. Once she was introduced, she said, “I was invited to speak because I had a weird childhood.”

We all laughed…until she shared some of her stories, including being severely burned at age 3 because to eat, she had to cook meals in a small trailer on a gas stove. After six weeks in the hospital, her father decided to “rescue her.” Hastily…prior to a medical discharge. She affectionately referred to his art of the quick-exit as the ‘skedaddle.’

Her presentation was about hope, strength and beauty. She beamed with enthusiasm sharing the many gifts she received from her experiences. Yes… Continue reading “Own Your Story, Love Your Strength & Heal With Hope”

Is There Room For Self-Care in The Sandwich?

“My migraines were getting worse and I went to see a doctor. He asked about my life…I told him I worked full-time, had 3 kids and helped care for my dad who had dementia and was living with me while my mother recovered from surgery. The doctor said disapprovingly, ‘that’s too much.’” Jody Gastfriend, my friend and former colleague admitted, “The doctor was right.” I nodded and sighed. We met for breakfast to discuss self-care and lessons learned from her years in social work, building Care.com’s Senior Care services, and tending to her aging parents. In her new book, My Parent’s Keeper The Guilt, Grief, Guesswork and Unexpected Gifts of Caregiving, Jody shares how she ultimately had to prioritize self-care and pay attention to what her body was telling her.

Watch For Signs

We lamented how Mom-martyrdom is universally accepted and reinforces patterns of self-neglect. Making changes feels even worse than the to-do list treadmill. Envisioning a better way requires energy and creativity…inaccessible to most when overloaded. Jody shared what was happening in her life before the migraines worsened. “There were other signs from the universe… before I realized how worn out I was.” Jody eventually hired a home health aide to help with her father’s care and temporarily reduced her work hours.

Caring for adults is unpredictable. Whereas healthy children follow similar developmental paths, seniors defy patterns as they age. At 90, some remain very active while others at age 70 can’t live alone. An estimated 75% of family caregivers are female. Absorb that for a moment. The likelihood that your parents will need your help as they age is high! Few think of themselves as ‘family caregivers’ and just doing what ‘is Continue reading “Is There Room For Self-Care in The Sandwich?”

How to Elevate Your Impact As a Leader!

10 Takeaways About Leadership, Winning Mindset, Work/Life, Strategy and Success, from the BlogHer Creator’s Summit

“Let’s all pledge in this room… here, put your hands up.” Amy Schumer said. I looked around and about a thousand hands, went up slowly and in unison, like balloons at a concert. “I, then say your name…” She said. We laughed and tentatively said our names. She continued, “I pledge that when I find an honest, powerful creator of content I will promote the ever-loving shit out of her!” Applause followed as she concluded her powerful, irreverent and wildly funny, presentation. Her message that women can take steps, big and small, to help each other succeed was echoed throughout event.

Two weeks ago, female content creators, platform builders and brand marketers, gathered to learn and connect at the BlogHer Creator’s Summit. The agenda balanced celebrity star-power, with spotlights on up-and-coming leaders. Practical guidance, accompanied ‘big picture’ inspiration.

Enjoy wise quotes about leadership, entrepreneurship, strategy, career growth, work/life integration and cultivating a winning mindset from powerhouse speakers!

Be Uniquely, Unapologetically, You.

 “Whether I soar or sink, I want to do it with my integrity, and not somebody else’s idea of who I should be.” Gabrielle Union, Actress, Entrepreneur & Author

“I can’t help but be real. I realized that’s what I could bring to the table.” Katie Sturino CEO of The 12ish Style,

“I only found success when I started doing things totally differently than everyone else.” Courtney Quinn Entrepreneur & Founder of Color Me Courtney,

“Point of view is what truly differentiates you. It gets you to the next step and it’s a little bit different than passion.” Kendra Bracken-Ferguson Entrepreneur, Strategist & Chief Digital Officer for CAA.

Solve Problems & Find The Right Partners To Support You

 “…Great ideas have plenty of suitors. (…) Allow people to invest Continue reading “How to Elevate Your Impact As a Leader!”

How to be a Happier Parent? Embrace Self-Care!

Gratitude for our families doesn’t mean we’re always happy. Moms routinely give up self-care (yes including sleep) for the perceived greater good. We break so many promises to ourselves, that the excuses sound hollow, even inside our minds.  The consuming baby years, soon give way to demanding school-and-sport logistics. Finding free time feels like trying to breathe underwater. We grow distant from the passions that shaped our personalities. Over time, we forget how to have fun without our kids.

Most of us dwell in the land of never-done, a purgatory filled with managing email, picking up toys and cleaning the counters for the fifth time. It’s not surprising when, in most families, Moms are still responsible for all-things-children-and-household. Although it’s tempting to try to outsmart the to-do list, there’s a better way! I had the pleasure of speaking with KJ Dell’Antonia, Author and former Editor of the New York Times’ parenting blog, The Motherlode.

After writing about parenting, while raising four children of her own, she’s distilled practical wisdom about ‘How to Be a Happier Parent’ in her new book. Spoiler alert, carving out your happy is Continue reading “How to be a Happier Parent? Embrace Self-Care!”

Can Mindfulness & Modeling With Our Kids Overcome Impatience?

Regain Presence Despite Mental Load Overwhelm

After conducting an anonymous survey with 225 Moms, to gauge how the ‘mental load’ from carrying the always-on to-do list, affects everything from careers to health and family relationships, 79% shared they experience increased anger, worry and distraction with their kids.

“…Throughout dinner and bedtime, I feel like I’m pushing my kids off, like ‘I’ll look at your picture…after I finish unloading the dishwasher,’ or ‘As soon as I’m done making your sandwich, I’ll be right there.’  All they want is my attention but I just don’t have it to give unless I want to do two hours of chores after they go to bed, which I don’t!  I try to get it all done before they go to bed…(after) I can take a shower, then sit down and rest.”

Mom Is A Utility

We preach the value of attentiveness and focus to our children. Yet unmade beds and unread messages vie for our mindshare. Constantly. In most families, Mom-energy powers everything from hugs to planning playdates…leaving little space for the trial, error or antics of childhood.

“They view me as regularly stressed… There’s really no full down time between what I need to do and the kids’ schedules.”

“I have less patience when I’m overburdened, which leads to being short tempered…and less engaged with them. I feel like I can’t stop and play Legos® or help with a craft because I have TOO MUCH TO DO!!!” Continue reading “Can Mindfulness & Modeling With Our Kids Overcome Impatience?”

Ask for More! The Roadmap to Equal Partnership At Home

#MomsSelf-Care #ShareTheInvisibleWorkLoad #StrongCouplesBuildStrongFamilies

In most families, household and childcare logistics fall to Mom. The complexity of scheduling everything, from doctors appointments to play dates, is more laborious than you think. Stress, from juggling impossible schedules and the always-on mental to-do list, becomes oppressive. By the time we realize it’s unsustainable, we’re exhausted and desperate for relief.

Eventually, the epiphany that one person needn’t ‘own’ all of the kid and household planning in a two-adult family, brings hope. Until then, trying to renegotiate with our spouse, kicks off an unexpectedly draining and emotional chess match. Love for our kids is unconditional, but the spousal bond is different. We trust and commit with strings. We expect mutual support of our dreams and well-being.

“Even mothers who work for pay are still doing twice the amount of housework and child care as fathers,” Continue reading “Ask for More! The Roadmap to Equal Partnership At Home”

Rewrite The Rules! Lighten Your Mental Load, Drop Mom Guilt & Live Your Values

#MomsSelf-Care #MomsLivingWithIntention #ResistMentalLoad

A Conversation With Tiffany Dufu, Author of Drop The Ball

“I am in tears and I am overwhelmed. I need help to get out of this place.”

Most moms experience despair at some point on the journey, however, few discuss it. It’s part of the unspoken pact we have with society. There’s so much to celebrate, that most conversation centers on the joy. We don’t talk about feeling fractured or how a lack of self-care leaves us eerily distanced from our identities.

When Tiffany Dufu realized the burden to control all things household was unsustainable without living with a heavy dose of resentment, she knew for the sake of her family and her marriage something needed to change. In her book, Drop the Ball, she artfully tells the story of moving from overwhelm to a more focused, fulfilled life by doing two major things. Continue reading “Rewrite The Rules! Lighten Your Mental Load, Drop Mom Guilt & Live Your Values”

Couples Win When Mom’s Mental Load Is More Fairly Balanced

#MomsSelf-Care #ShareTheInvisibleWorkLoad #MentalLoadSurveyResults“I want to SMOOSH his face!  He is a teacher and is home for the summer, but I’m the one scheduling everything – he takes the girls to the appointments, but I have to be the one to set everything up. I work 50 hours a week and come home to a messy house, no dinner, and kids who want to run to Target. The thing is: they simply don’t ask him about haircuts or shampoo or sweatpants or whatever, so I do it all.”

Disillusioned 

In most households, the planning and logistics for all things kids and household falls to Mom.  One friend aptly described the mental load, “…it’s like having one thousand tabs open in your mind. All.the.time.” This imbalance leaves many partnered Moms feeling disconnected, disrespected, frustrated or lonely in their relationships.

When asked how the mental load affects the partnership with their spouse or significant other, 80% admit Continue reading “Couples Win When Mom’s Mental Load Is More Fairly Balanced”

Resist Holiday Excess!  3 Smart Strategies to Embrace Holiday Minimalism

#MomsMinimizing #PureFamilyJoy #KeepTheLoveReduceTheStuff

“Last Christmas my daughter received so many presents she was actually tired of opening them. We became worried that in subsequent years she’d begin to expect so much.”  Stephanie explained she and her husband agreed to reduce the number of gifts for their children this year to four presents each.  “For our oldest, we’ll give her something she needs, something she wants, something to read, and something to do.”

I had the pleasure of meeting Stephanie and her youngest a couple of months ago.  A self-described incremental minimalist, she started a blog about simplifying life as a means of enjoying it more.  While working to curb holiday excess in her own home, she realized others are likely trying to do the same and began a ‘Holiday Challenge’ for Moms to share practical ways to minimize during holiday season.

Stuff-overload is a common parenting frustration.  From that first time traveling overnight with a baby to realizing your living space is mostly a playroom, Continue reading “Resist Holiday Excess!  3 Smart Strategies to Embrace Holiday Minimalism”

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