Bullying, Career, Empowerment

Harassment and Bullying: The “Power”-ful Connection

The news of Matt Lauer’s behavior and firing sent shock-waves through the country. We’re used to waking up in the morning and seeing his face, waiting for him to bring us the breaking news of the day. But something changed last week and I think it deserves some attention.171129-matt-lauer-mc-1227_7efd4c1aa088bf7867b00153d79d43c3.nbcnews-fp-1200-630

I’ll be honest. At the start of last year when it seemed like everyone had been harassed, I was quicker to brush it off. There are those who seek fame and fortune and are willing to manipulate the system, making us less likely to believe true victims. I’ve changed my stance on this to some degree.

When I would see Matt on the Today show, I saw a powerful man. I saw someone who was determined to keep his “seat,” who wouldn’t back down, and sheer strength; someone untouchable. I saw a bully.

My point [and realization] is that harassment and bullying are closely linked. And that link all stems with a desire to preserve and protect power, at all costs. Rape is a power move. Abuse is a power move. Maintaining control and power by subjugating the “weaker” to fear and be under you, a power move.

People say, “Well why is it all happening right now?” I’d reply that it’s been happening for years, this is how business was done, and it’s just now coming out and being labeled “unacceptable.” But if I’m completely candid with you, I don’t think the executives are sorry it happened so much as they’re sorry it’s been discovered and what it could do to their brand. It’s going to take another wave of morality to get motives pure.

I’m hoping the next move is to work on eradicating bullying from the workplace. I’ve undergone it, many of my friends have, and HR brushes things to the side. The reasons? The bully many times is a high performer and brings in X amount of money or Y amount in sales/clients, therefore “can’t” be removed. Creating a culture where everyone feels safe and can work to the best of their faculties isn’t as important as the Almighty Dollar. But I’d venture to guess that if we valued the morals first, the money, and even MORE money would follow.

Enough time has been wasted letting “top” talent stick around because we fear them. Enough time has been used up in excuses for why we can’t handle the bully or get rid of an abuser in the workforce. It leaves the victims with little options and makes them a victim all over again when they have to leave the company at no fault of their own.

“Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” –  Lord Acton.

Photo Credit

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Holidays, Recovery, Tragedy

For the One with the Tough Christmas…

This is a beautiful time of year. Snow starts falling, Christmas trees in every window, and cookies bake in the oven. It’s a time where we all try to focus on the things that truly matter: faith, family, and love. But for many of us, it’s been hard to get this place of “merriment.” For many, this time of year leaves a hole in our hearts and reminds us what we lack.

The photo above is of our home during Christmas in 2015. It was the year I miscarried twins and felt deep sadness, grief, and loss. Many feel this during the Christmas season. I remember talking to a counselor about it even before my miscarriage [you can read about here], when my mom left. I told him how much I dreaded this time of year and how utterly empty I felt. What he said to me still rings true ten years later.

Every Christmas is a just a piece of a sewn quilt, one of a huge tapestry of Christmases that will be in your lifetime. It’s just one.

And I can tell you there is hope. I can now look back on this picture and remember it clearly, but not feel the pain. Now we have a tree up in our home and we have our almost one-year-old son, born a year after and the same day as my D&C for the miscarriage in 2015. We are grateful. Somehow the pain of the “older quilt pieces” the Christmases of the past, hurt much less and are a dim memory.

So if you’re having a hard time this Christmas season, know that it’s just one in many. There will be new ones, new memories to create and the old hurtful stings dissipate over time. Losses never go away, but they do hurt less and less, rolling back like the oceans tide. May you have hope and healing this Christmas season.

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Holidays, New Motherhood

It Takes a Village

Over the weekend, we spent time decorating our home for Christmas and helped out some friends as well. I brought Chase along too and he absolutely loved every decoration. Every decoration was an experience. The angels? Magnificent. He wanted to eat the nose off of Frosty and cuddle with Santa. Which he did. [See below].

But as we ate, watched Christmas movies, and got Chase ready for bed before I drove home, I realized how important this is. You hear the phrase “it takes a village” probably all the time. But that saying is absolutely on point.

As a new mom, you’re set up in isolation. The house seems to close in. You don’t want to travel out because it’s too much of a process. But this is exactly where you’re COMMUNITY is. Your village is outside your doorstep waiting for you. Your baby, you and your family are better for you sharing motherhood. It’s not a solo sport.

Chase loved getting together with his sitter and “helping” decorate. He enjoyed seeing his friends and getting to spend time with others. They helped bathe him, feed him, and change him while I got a chance to eat without being

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bothered. Having this kind of help can never be taken for granted.

So if you’re a new mom and you feel alone, don’t. Go find your village, go find your friends, and bring your little ones. It’s so good for your social and mental health and awesome for your little one. Enlarge your community today.

Mom Life, New Baby

What a New Mom NEEDS [FOR HERSELF]

Hi Moms! This is NOT another article to tell you what to buy for your baby. I’ve got one here if you need it. No. This article is all about helping YOU. Because, let’s face it. Once you’ve had the baby, you kinda get forgotten by everyone, including yourself.

So this is all. about. you! 🙂

Comfy Shoes. You’ll need them. You’ll be pushing a stroller, shopping for groceries, and running countless errands. You need something comfy on your feet. Treat those sweet feet! And remember, you might be up a shoe size post-partum.

Bathrobe. I basically LIVED in this after I had my son. You’re breastfeeding, pumping, or just plain too tired. You want to be comfy and be able to feed your baby easily when you first come back home from the hospital. It’s all about comfort and rest right now. So get that nice fuzzy, extra large, plush, bathrobe.

Comfy Pants. Having comfortable sweatpants are crucial during the recovery stage. Getting into jeans for me right away wasn’t going to happen, especially after a C-section where my mid-section really needed to heal. This is the time for comfort and feeling better. You need sweatpants — snag yourself a pair.

Great Coffee Pot. You’re not going to sleep a lot — at least not for a few months. Your baby requires constant feedings the first few months until their stomach’s enlarge. You’ll need to listen to the cliche, “Sleep when your baby sleeps.” When that’s not enough, drink some coffee. It’ll warm you up in the mornings and make you feel more sane. When the days get hard, it’s nice to phone a fellow mom friend and chat over a cup.

Don’t forget yourselves, moms. Don’t be a martyr. Make yourself a priority every day. It will make you feel better and bring a new sense of peace and comfort to your new little home.

It’s all about you right now.

 

Contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here.

Grateful, Struggle

When “Grateful” Feels Hard

Thanksgiving just happened. Turkeys were stuffed, mashed potatoes eaten, and pies were exchanged. It’s the time of year where we list off why we’re grateful. And our hearts are supposed to be full of gratitude. And they are… for the most part.

I think it’s safe to say that some of us are lying. While we are grateful, we have a part of us that is maybe a little upset. We’re upset that maybe there’s a part of life that’s tough for us or something our family has been going through for years. There’s an illness, a loss, or maybe even a financial setback.

I think while it’s important to focus on the blessings and all that is good, I think maybe 10% of our time can just be honest. We should share with family and friends our struggles and hardships. It’s okay to not like a part of life or to feel like you’re all alone. It’s okay to feel less than “Thanksgiving Happy” about something. I think that’s more honest.

I am grateful. And we should all live in a way where we see our blessings before our troubles. But it’s unfair to think that gratefulness cancels out our pain or our problems. I think being grateful is what helps us keep our troubles in perspective. It keeps us grounded and strong.

So this year, count your many blessings. But while doing so, don’t be afraid to be honest.

Health, Wellness

The “Not-So-Secret” Secret to Losing the Baby Weight

I know I’ve done posts in the past that discuss more in depth the different ways I changed my habits to be healthier. But there’s a particular piece that I didn’t write about that I wanted to share with all the other moms who are postpartum or those who just want to be healthier.

If you know me, you’d know I’m definitely not a dieter. I don’t do fads, I don’t do fancy shakes. Everything needs to be pretty basic and normal. I also don’t want to give up the things I enjoy: bread, ice cream, cheese… it goes on. If I’m being asked to “give something up,” odds are I won’t follow-through. Sound familiar? I’m sure many of you feel the same way.

Instead of giving up what I truly want and enjoy I’ve adopted a new rule. I call it, the “one cup” rule. Here’s how it works. I still listen to my body and try to make simple changes, like having the veggie instead of fries at the restaurant, or eating mustard with a sandwich instead of mayo. However, when I’m having my “main meal” and it may involve something I usually go overboard on (pasta Alfredo, anyone?) I do the “one cup” rule. I can still have macaroni and cheese, but I can only have one cup. After that cup, it’s veggies for me. I can still have a desert occasionally, but it’s going to be one cup of ice cream.

On purpose I choose to measure with the measuring cup and that’s how I scoop what I will eat onto my plate. It seems silly and little, but these small “tweaks” to the way I do things, have paid off. It’s helped me slim down, get more

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exercise, and feel healthier and more alert.

Order some measuring cups. Adopt your own “one cup rule.” Life gets better when

you do it on purpose and don’t feel like you’re losing out.

Eat what you love – one cup at a time.

Family, New Motherhood, Working Moms

How to Enjoy Your Mornings, Working Moms

This was me and my little guy yesterday morning. See, we have this little routine. When I see him stirring on the video monitor, Greg and I go into his room and pick him up. He sees us and instantly starts beaming, as if to say, “You came back for me!” It truly is one of the highlights of my day. But I sort of forgot about how wonderful it is.

I started waking up just a half an hour earlier, 5:30 a.m. And just by doing that, I started to notice things. Like how happy I am for that first cup of coffee, or how I love listening to the news when it’s still quiet. I forgot how much I love to go into my little man’s room and see his beaming face, so happy that his parents are with him.

In the craziness of life, we prioritize a lot of things that just aren’t important. We chase people, jobs, relationships, goals, many of which aren’t really put in our hearts. So instead of loading up your schedule with all of the things that aren’t the most important to you, maybe we all take a “grown-up time out.”

During my “time out” I noticed that I had a bunch of different choices laid out before me. As I looked at them I thought, which one do I feel led to do? Which one leads me closer to my talents, my calling? When we get super quiet and away from the noise, we start to see things more clearly.

I’m not going to forget how awesome it is to hug my little guy in the morning. Many times that work outfit gets buggers and turd on it and I need to change. Instead of being frustrated, I try and remember his smile. Because it won’t last. One day he’ll be dreading me waking him up and not smiling in fleece footie pajamas. And I don’t want that part to end.

Treasure the simpleness in your mornings, working moms. There’s so much toughness but there’s so much beauty too if we’ll only take the time to look.

Enjoy it.

Choice, Empowerment

How to Enjoy Life When it’s Hard

I know personally, I had a pretty rough couple of days before my weekend. I just felt super down and in a funk. There’s things in life that I just wish I was “further ahead” in and when I don’t feel that way, I can get really discouraged.

Discouraged that:

  • We don’t have more money
  • Student loans still exist
  • Haven’t lost every bit of baby weight — it’s starting to just be “me”
  • Don’t own a home yet — we are (pause) RENTERS

It sounds so petty, but you know those moments where you just feel like you aren’t “there” yet, wherever “there” is, so you get yourself into a mental tailspin? I mean there’s more than enough things to be grateful for:

  • Living in the USA
  • Having a healthy family — having A family
  • A nice place to live
  • Two full-time jobs
  • Health insurance
  • Food, clothes, indoor pluming…

But yet, we all desire PROGRESS. We all want to know that we are getting somewhere and that our efforts aren’t for nothing. And you know what I think? I think we do see progress every day. But maybe it’s not the massive changes we are looking for. We lose a couple pounds a month, not 10 in one week. We pay off a bill every month or two months, it’s not all gone immediately. We make progress in our day to day struggles. And that’s totally okay.

Maybe we should start making a bigger deal out of our accomplishments. When we lose that weight, celebrate! Paid off your student loans? You go girl! Rented a new place while you save for a house? There’s nothing wrong with that.

Go out and get some coffee and celebrate the wins! It’s the best way to beat the “funk.”

Mom Life, Personal Development, Struggle

Permission to “Lose It”

This weekend was a cluster of my “finest” moments.

It included the following:

  • Getting into an argument with my husband
  • Yelling around the house
  • Complaining about what “hadn’t been done”
  • Feeling upset I didn’t get more done
  • Episodes of tears from stress
  • Forgot to pay a bill that was definitely due

Have you ever had those moments? You know, the moments where you just feel like a colossal failure? Moments where you feel like like is treating you like a clump of silly puddy? Me too.

I felt like such a screw-up this weekend. I wanted to be a better mom, a better wife, and I felt like I wasn’t accomplishing ANY of it. But that’s not true. We are all getting better day after day. And not every day or moment are we going to “get it all right.” But that’s perfectly okay.

Sometimes we all need to “lose it.” We need to come undone and have a good cry. Sometimes our steam needs to be let out and we need to recognize our own humanity. We aren’t superwoman, though we could fool many. We are mere mortals and we all have moments of arguments, tears, forgetfulness, and pain.

It’s okay to “lose it” mamas, you’re going to need to sometimes. It doesn’t make you a crappy mom or wife, it makes you so incredibly human.

Family, Mom Guilt

The Guilt of Having the “Perfect Number” of Children

Story Time Mamas…

I’m going to get real with you. One thing that I have a really hard time with, is the pressure and internal guilt of “how many kids” is the ideal family? I have friends who stopped at one and decided they were done and others that are on their third child. And internally, my mind goes nuts.

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I absolutely adore my little guy. He’s super social, he laughs, he farts — it’s all adorable. But there was also: teething, sleep-training, colds, and the many diapers in my garbage. It’s a beautiful mess.

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As much as I love my son, and I’m thankful he’s here and wouldn’t trade a thing, I also recognize my own needs. The need to explore, accomplish, and to be out in the world. And sometimes that makes me feel guilty. Guilty I don’t want to stay at home. Guilty I don’t really want to have more kids. Guilty he won’t have a sibling. Guilty I’m not as much of a mom as the moms who have minivans with children.

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And maybe this is you too? And maybe we all need to stop that. Stop feeling guilty that we aren’t someone else and embrace who we are and what our needs are.

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I’m not the minivan mom, but that doesn’t make me a “bad mom”, it makes me the mom that Chase needs. And you’re the mom that your child or children need.

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Stop the guilt. Stop the comparing. You’re the mom you’re meant to be and you’re GREAT.

#stopmomguiilt #momshame #momsohard #momlife