Life Balance, Self Help

How I Made My Schedule Less Hectic

Every night, I have this ritual. It’s after Chase has had his bath, his food, his stories and is sound asleep, albeit snoring. It’s after the work day is done, the phone calls, emails, and last minute memos. It’s after driving and dodging traffic and catching toys being flung in mid-air. It’s in the quiet time, when all I can hear is the distant train out the window and see the sun setting. These are my absolute precious moments–maybe this sounds familiar. But you should know if wasn’t always this way.

Like most, I lost my cool many times. I was never angry, but just felt frazzled, out of control. Mornings were filled with trying to get out the door, trying to keep my composure and to not “snap”. It wasn’t until juggling a full family that I understood why there was a show about moms “snapping”… I get it now! Sometimes there’s just. too. much. But we can’t stop life. We can’t stop the pace, for the most part. So what do we do?

We take time and enjoy the quiet. After Chase is in bed and all has been taken care of, the house is silent, that’s when I recharge my battery. I do it on purpose. I’ll turn on some music or a funny video. Then I grab the vacuum, run the dishwasher, make the beds… but I do it to my own beat. There might be some dancing, I may call a friend while I’m cleaning, but it feels good to have some time to myself and regain some “order”. In a world where we can’t control much, controlling my personal time, bringing my space to attention, it just feels good.

Some might say, why not just let the house wait? But to me, there’s a feeling of accomplishment. Because I know when it’s done, I’ll grab my book, sweatpants, and a cup of tea, and I’ll drink the evening in. It’s my reward. And when I do this, enjoy the stillness of the evening, I take the time to remember all I’m grateful for. A house I can clean, a baby I can love, a space we can call our own, the job that I beat traffic to get to. I enjoy it. And it took a while to get to that place of learning to enjoy things, but cleaning every night, doing my ritual of downtime, it’s just so good for the soul. It recharges me, it makes me less edgy in the morning.

So if you can do it, take the morning, the evening, your lunch break, find YOUR moment. It’s so worth it and it’s such an essential part of taking care of yourself. Drink from your cup so you have something to give to others.

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Impact, Life Balance

St. Jude’s Research Walk

Last weekend I did a walk for St. Jude’s with some friends and brought my son. Really, this shouldn’t be a big deal but it was.

Those who know me also know that I’m an outgoing introvert (yes, it’s a real thing). Maybe you are too. I enjoy being around others when it’s planned, but I also need that personal time in my “cave” at home to recharge my battery. It’s a delicate balance between socialization and hermitage.

Well lately being that I have a infant-toddler now in my life, I felt myself hermiting more than socializing. Any moms and ladies relate? Just to get out the door, there’s a stroller, car seat, bottle/formula, backup formula, toys, Tylenol for teething, blankets, diapers, wipes, it’s a never ending list of crap to bring. So why bother? It’s more of a pain than anything else half the time. So I’d just tell my friends, family, “Forget it.” Maybe we would do all this another time, another day, some day in the future when I feel like this is just less work and I have the energy for “life”.

But instead, I pulled my hair in a bun. I’m not sure that I brushed my teeth or washed my face, but we got dressed, grabbed the pack with all the baby accessories and booked it out the door for a 9 a.m. walk for St. Jude’s Research Hospital.

And this was huge. When we arrived it was a beautiful sunny day. Survivors shared stories. I thought how blessed I was to have this healthy little boy who isn’t fighting for his life, who is rambunctious and happy. But most of all, I understood why it’s so important to have this balance in our lives, both parts social and hermit. I missed my friends, I missed the interaction with others. I think for moms especially, it’s so easy to wrap ourselves up in the daily chores, and routine of life… dishes, laundry, poop, work and repeat… but man, was it so healthy to get out and do something fun. My child needed it and so did I.

So get out. You may not have the money for a spa day or to go to an amusement park, but just get out. Go for a walk, phone a friend, visit the mall. Something. I didn’t realize how healthy that is, how important it is. But you need it.

So when I feel myself getting too “hermit-like”, I make myself call a friend or do something. Because we need it, we need each other and we’ll feel better for it. Life is never going to be completely calm, there’s always going to be some crap to bring along. But we can’t wait for some day. Do it now, do it today, even if it’s not super neat or pretty and you can’t remember if you brushed your teeth.

Family, Female Entrepreneurs, Impact, Life Balance, Work Freedom

To the Young Working Woman: Here’s Your Dilema

It never really occurred to me, just how much different women have it in the workplace, especially when they drop the pregnancy “bomb”. Now before I lose you because “you’re not a feminist”, here me out. I am the type of person that’s very skeptical of bandwagons, or labels. I don’t subscribe to an area of thought without putting a lot of reason with it, and considering real facts, and not just some inflated numbers to prove an ideological point. However, as I’ve observed my own environments, and those of my peers and friends, I’ve noticed some very troubling news. Yes, there is such a thing as discrimination in the workplace, and no I don’t think it’s everywhere. But it is around more than it should be, and to the young working woman, you should be aware.

This piece isn’t a whine-fest, because I don’t believe in that. I want results, answers, something that I can offer a young woman, a piece of advice. The bottom-line is, you starting a family is not helpful to your employer and literally, invokes fear. It concerns and worries them that you might do the following: leave, get sick, take a longer leave, be disinterested in your work, or not “focus” enough after you’ve come back from said leave. Now, all off these fears are irrational and not based on facts, but they are commonly thought to be true from an employer-business perspective. And for a long time, I saw some merit in thinking that way. For example, how is a business owner to keep maintaining their client base, their project management flowing, and all of the other office duties when you are gone for one to three months? I could see how that would impact a business owner, how that might not be helpful. But then I thought again. What if my male counterparts, had knee surgery, got hit by a bus, or decided to take a month-long vacation? Would they be looked at with the same disdain and disapproval? I wondered…

I think the reason why that’s treated so differently, or at least not as feared by employers, is because pregnancy is such a tangible thing. You have an employee who’s body is changing on a daily basis; it’s concrete you can see that. You can’t as easily see your other staff making life changes, that could just as easily happen. And for male or non-family planning women, it’s just more acceptable. Even if they aren’t as solid an employee, well at least they aren’t going off, growing humans…  They make an assumption based on tangibility and years of connotation regarding women and having a family. But let me tell you something, young women, both professionally and personally, you’re so critical.

What if these same employers looked at what happens to society, when women don’t have the ability to properly bond and raise their children? What employee, after laboring for days, bleeding excessively, getting a major surgery performed on their insides, would ever be expected to reasonably go right back to work? Can you imagine the level of medical trauma and acrobatic skill your body and emotions endure through this process? Do they consider who raised them to be so successful? Women, you give life. And you do it every day whether you’re a mom or not, it’s part of your divine design. Whether you plan a dinner party, a wedding, forge a project or product launch at work, you bring life a vibrancy to the table with a natural poise and grace that cannot be matched. You are needed, necessary, and cannot be duplicated. Side note to mothers everywhere: You are all rock-stars.

Society suffers, when you are cast down. You’re own health and your child’s is at risk when you aren’t able to properly take your leave. Mothers who return to work so early are plagued with depression and less likely to breastfeed their children. Their children can suffer developmentally, the feature notes. Researchers have even found a correlation between the amount of leave a new mother takes and infant mortality rates (Huffington Post). We have a major problem, and it’s bigger than paid leave and day-care costs. Our culture has lost the value of family. We work longer hours, buy more crap than we can enjoy or afford, and have little joy left over. We are tired, stressed and unhappy. Our children, our families suffer the effects. We don’t have family dinner, we rush to the drive-thru for our food and wonder why things are such a mess. I don’t think things will change for women, for children, for families, until we value family again. The government can’t wave a magic wand to make employers care. It’s a cultural value system change, a heart change.

So what can women do in the meantime. What can you do now? I say you realize that you can’t have it all, all at once. You need to take seasons in your life to work, and to also be a mother. There is a time to climb the executive ladder, and a time to enjoy your family. But it can’t happen all at once. You have to make that choice. And I think the best thing for women? Entrepreneurship. Take your talents, skills and abilities, and create something to offer the world. You already have it in you, why not give yourself the gift of freedom and choice? You set your hours, your goals, and call the shots. Sure it’s not easy, but I think it’s the best option for women and gives them the ability to be themselves. And when you do become a business woman, hire some females. Give the same grace to them that you’d want from an employer. Change the culture and reply back, that women working and being able to raise families, they are important callings. Don’t let a boss determine you’re worth, that job is for you only. Don’t lose sight of your power, your skills and your heart.

You have the power to invoke change, don’t forget that.

Photo credit: www.moneycrashers.com

Female Entrepreneurs, Growth, Life Balance, Passion, Uncategorized, Work Freedom

The Importance of Passion

My best friend had a cliche phrase that she would use sometimes; many of you are familiar with it. “Follow your heart.” As a child, I remember hearing my mother say “follow your heart, sweetie”. These phrases always sounded a little foolish to me, because the real world doesn’t care much about your passion… or do they?

When you operate in your gifts and talents, you bring an extra dose of energy and pzazz,–there’s a spring in your step, a note in your song. Not only are you happier and more joyful, but your customers take notice, as do your boss and co-workers. Everyone notices a difference. It’s what makes a ho-hum day, not so ordinary. You’ll be willing to work late, and arrive early.

So if you have all this extra “go-get ’em” when you are operating in your passions, than why wouldn’t your boss care? If you will work harder and more effectively, you’ll be a better employee. If your passionate about your family, you’ll be a better parent, a better spouse. It spills into other areas of our lives, like a new perfume others can tell.

So that phrase “follow your heart”, isn’t so crazy after all.

Female Entrepreneurs, Growth, Life Balance, Uncategorized, Work Freedom

Taking a “Time Out”

So this week was more stressful than most. This week we moved into our new town home, which is great, but also comes with a lot of stress.
I was packing weeks prior, getting paperwork in order, doing taxes… you know, life.
The old me would have kept pushing, not taking any down time, and eventually “snapped” at someone, leaving us all off in a worse situation.
But the new me said, “no”; we need a time out. So I did just that. I went to my local Walmart and sat in one of those massage-y chairs at the salon and just sat, drank coffee, and enjoyed.
About five years ago, I would have said “those people”, the ones who enjoy things, are nuts, because they should be going at full speed ahead—all. the. time.
But no, these are the people who understand, within balance and reason, that enjoying things, taking a break, it’s necessary.

And you know what I realized that night, after I did such a simple act of taking a “time out” for a pedicure? That whole night went differently. I had just as much work on my plate, but everything went smoother; I felt more relaxed, and recharged. It was $30 well spent and a half an hour in heaven.

So I’d ask all you ladies in particular, to give yourself permission for an adult “time out”… because you NEED it. ‪#‎timeout‬ ‪#‎relaxation‬‪#‎rechargeandrefresh‬ ‪#‎womendoitall‬ ‪#‎businessboutique‬‪#‎moneysavingmom‬.

Female Entrepreneurs, Life Balance, Personal Development, Work Freedom

Why Females are meant for Entrepreneurship

It never really occurred to me until I got out in the professional working world, that women and business truly make the most sense. Let me explain.

The Power of Choice

Women are the perfect fit for business because it let’s us keep our ability to choose. They give us freedom, time, and a sense of self-worth, no matter what our passion is. With the need for a better work-life balance, and managing family and professions, business gives that freedom back to us. No longer do we need to choose our families or our jobs but we can do both, with balance.

The Ability to Chase Passion

With all of today’s resources with social media being free or create easy websites via WordPress, it’s impossible not to find a way for young, working females to find a side gig online. If your passion is writing, knitting, or a guru, you can find a way to express your passion online and in a business setting.

A Deeper Sense of Freedom

When you have perfected your side hustle, or have gone full-time entrepreneur you have created a life for yourself that you dictate. Win together, fail together, it’s all you, babe. And this can be a really good thing. You dictate how hard you work for you and what that work should look like. The successes you build are yours for the taking. And likewise, if you want to take a 2 week vacation in March, then it’s up to you to decide what needs to get done and in what time frame, to make that happen.

Women are fantastic for businesses, most importantly, their own! Message me on the contact page or on Facebook to set up a consultation on how I can help you reach your business or life-balance goals.

 

 

Family, Life Balance, LifeHacks, Uncategorized

Why I’m NOT Cooking for Thanksgiving: End the Hustle

I grew up in a loud, Italian-German (weird combo, I know) household. My mother the stereotypical Italian “yeller” and my father the stoic German. With my mother’s ethnicity, something innately made her want to cook for an army of no less than 50 people, at every holiday, even when there was just 10 of us, tops. This craziness in preparing for “all” these people would begin sometimes a month before the event would even occur. As the weeks and days drew nearer to the event, the flurry of activity would intensify, ensuing what one could and should call, chaos.

“Joel, get the lawn together! There shouldn’t be any leaves in that back porch. Oh, and stain the deck! I’m not sure why it isn’t already stained… no, no, go to Curtis Lumber and ask for the forest brown stain, this is mahogany… How many times have I told you?”

And the crazy continued…

“Rachel, Christina! How many times have I said, clean your rooms! I want them dusted and vacuumed, thoroughly! Make sure your new bedspreads are looking neat.” She would bark.

Throughout the day of the party, there would be noise, banging, last minute house-checks, you name it. But the minute the first guests walked through that door, as if they had just been welcomed to Narnia, she’d exclaim, “John, Kathy… How are you?” And the sweetest voice, like a angel would take over, and suddenly all the prepping was over. We were exhausted.

Now I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy the holidays or have fond memories. Not at all. However, I did learn from my mother that in order to impress guests (that you may or may not like) you need to achieve perfection in your home. Which is impossible and an exhausting process. This is why I have a new tradition for the holidays going forward. It’s really revolutionary… Wait for it…

Let someone else, cook and clean for the holidays.

Ta-da! I know it’s really rocket-science-genius of me. Now for those  of you who genuinely enjoy entertaining and cooking, that’s fine. As long as you don’t take it to an extreme place and make your home a war-zone. But for many of us, we are so locked into our routines, that letting someone else cook, to go to a nice restaurant would be a huge sigh of relief.

So I decided, I’m not cooking for Thanksgiving. I cook 365 days a year, I think one meal to enjoy my family, friends, and what’s truly important, matters more.

Women (and men), feel free to let someone else take care of you for a change. Let the hustle end, take a deep breath and smell the gravy… the one you didn’t have to make.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Intentional, Life Balance, Uncategorized

To the Young Working Women: Your Life is an Hourglass

When I was attending college, an all women’s college mind you, I absolutely loved the world of academia. I loved the library, the books, the intellectual conversation. I was obsessed with knowledge and couldn’t imagine not pursuing a masters and then doctorate degree. Who wouldn’t want to belong to this wonderful culture of endless learning and knowledge?

As I walked across the stage in May, my family and friends all around me, reality hit and I needed a full time job. Luckily, I had been skipping some classes so I could go to interviews my senior year of college. And it paid off. I landed my first full time job and would start the Monday after I graduated. Suddenly, my world became full of faxes, case notes, memos and more. This dreamily world where there’s only learning and no “real world” to report to, was just that; a fantasy.

As I started wondering about how I was going to achieve this goal of becoming a full time professor, enriched in academia, I realized something. After three years of professional work, my goals and dreams had changed. Instead of achieving a higher education, not that it isn’t still a goal, other priorities flooded my mind.  I thought about goals for my marriage, getting a home and starting a family. It became clear to me that there’s so many people who choose to put a career or academia goal first and put life goals on hold.

This became most clear to me when my grandmother died. It was May 2015. As I saw my husband and my male cousins lower her casket into the warm ground, the tears cascaded down my face. There was something so final about the moment. Though I do believe I will see her again, on the other side of heaven, I realized we have a finite amount of time here on this earth. That means that the time we use here, needs to be used intentionally and carefully. Now when I live my life, see my goals, it’s all through that lens. Live all moments to the fullest? No.

Live all moments on purpose because you can’t get them back.