Thursday, March 6, 2014
I've been feeling on edge lately, just one small step away from a snow day induced nervous breakdown. Working and entertaining a couple of cooped up kids, it turns out, is not my forte. It challenges my abilities, leaving me drained after 6-hour stints juggling work with cookie baking, reading, and playing Qwirkle.
Some might call it Divine Intervention. Others may call it fate: just when I begin to wonder exactly what I was thinking when I took the plunge into parenthood, my children reminded me why I did.
This past weekend my children turned 7 and 9. My son woke up at 5:00 because he was so excited he could not coax his body to rest. Later that day my daughter broke a wide smile after receiving a pair of roller blades. She quickly pulled them on and spent the rest of the dark, cold evening skating on the ice laced driveway. The two met every activity with an enthusiasm that breathed life into my tired, worn body.
It's easy to get bogged down in the routine of life, overlooking the special things we have the opportunity to do every day. As I looked at my children's smiles and bright faces, as I listened to their high pitched laughter and awful renditions of Pharrell Williams' song Happy I said a silent "thank you" to my children. I remembered that each day brings gifts, and how we interpret and respond to them can either lift us up or leave us down.
How will you face today?
Monday, February 24, 2014
"Grateful people are happy people," boomed a heavily accented voice. The sound lilted across the airwaves and into my car.
Is that all it takes? Just being grateful?
I thought about this statement in the context of my life:
- This past October, Cleveland had a wet, heavy snow that weighed so heavily on the tired trees in the backyard that one let go of its massive branch. It fell on my car with such force that it crushed the hood. I wasn't upset. In fact, I felt lucky, grateful, I wasn't in the car when the branch fell.
- When doctors told me my 3-month-old son would be blind in one eye, I was devastated, but I came to terms with the diagnosis, mostly by leaning on the idea that he could have been far more handicapped. I began to feel grateful and happy that his condition wasn't as severe as it might have been: it would not compromise his ability to fully function in society.
- Last year, when I sliced off my finger tip with a mandolin and presented the tiny piece of flesh to the ER doc, he held in a laugh, telling me I was lucky I hadn't sliced off a bigger chunk. I left the hospital with a throbbing finger wrapped in bandages, but somehow I felt happy: I hadn't sliced off a nail or required stitches.
And so it becomes clear: I tend to feel happy after bad things happen. Crazy, right?
But this is good news. The resiliency humans live their lives with is truly remarkable. The vast majority of us, if we truly think about it, are quite good at making lemonade out of the many lemons life throws at us. And, it is often when we are handed a lemon that are lives come into focus, and we see that lemonade is within reach. Perhaps it was there all the time, waiting to be recognized.
That's pretty cool, and it makes me believe we can all be happy, as long as we take the time to reflect and be grateful.
I guess there really is something to the idea of a "Gratitude Journal." Do you keep one?
Friday, February 14, 2014
I was a rock star Mommy this Halloween, when I sewed costumes
and created fun, healthy snacks for my kids
Because no matter what anyone says, it is difficult, if not irresponsible, to commit to children after school hours, to enjoy time with family, if you don't have a dollar in your back pocket.
Last weekend I was working when my daughter called me in tears. Her broken words traveled straight through the phone and pierced my heart. Instantly, I came down with a bad case of mommy guilt. I was making more money these days, but I wasn't as attentive as usual. When it came to mothering, I was forced to face the truth: I wasn't excelling.
But I believe the balance between mothering and working ebbs and flows: sometimes we're better at one role than another. When I'm a rock star mom, I'm rarely a rock star earner. When I'm a rock star earner, well, I'm usually not the best mom. I throw myself into each role, and when I realize one needs an extra push, and extra mile, I throw my energy that way. It's something I've come to accept. I think it's okay.
After my daughter caught her breath, explained in between sobs that her brother had given her a dismally low score for her performance in their singing contest, I promised to be home soon. I pushed through my work, packed up and went home.
It was time to make a comeback in the mommy role.
Friday, February 7, 2014
|This is my new favorite gadget, the MACRO exfoliator.|
Ladies, it's a game changer!
Quick: when someone says direct sales, what do you think? These are the things that come to my mind: sleazy, ponzi scheme, rip-off. The list of degrading terms could go on and on.
And yet, today, I find myself aligned with a direct sales company, Rodan + Fields.
Because this company is different. It is a company with a mission to change people's lives, by transforming skincare as we know it, and providing its consultants with the opportunity to find financial success working on their own time, on their own terms.
And it's not a bunch of mumbo jumbo.
In 2013 Rodan + Fields received the Vision for Tomorrow Award from the Direct Selling Association. It won the Gold Stevie Award: Company of the Year Consumer Products in the 2013 American Business Awards. The company's cutting edge products have been featured on the Today Show and Dr. Oz's blog. They've been praised in Oprah Magazine, Women's Health, Allure, and countless other beauty magazines. The company has received more media attention than all the other Direct Sales companies combined.
And this business model enables me to achieve an objective I am desperate to keep: priceless flexibility, so I can greet my children when they step off the school bus.
I'm not going to lie: I wanted, more than anything, to be paid to write. But corporate America has given me the cold shoulder, and I have too much energy, too much to share, to keep pounding my head against a wall. I've taken a leap in another direction, and I'm excited to see where it will take me.
As they say, if you can't find a job, make one.
Monday, January 27, 2014
|Source: The Goodvibe|
Every once in a while you stumble across something cool. For me, it was BlogHer, a site whose mission "is to bring women bloggers exposure, education, community, and economic empowerment." A woman whose will to write and blog is deep inside her, constantly tapping at her heart with words and ideas that must be expressed, this mission speaks to me. It is bold and inspirational. It makes me want to continue to throw myself into work, to be heard and valued. It nudges me toward growth. It whispers the value of risk taking.
My special news? BlogHer, a social network that reaches 92 million women each month, chose to syndicate one of my blog posts! Check it out here, and join in the conversation about blogging, social media, business and women.
Then, do something empowering today. You deserve it, and so does your family.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
|Source: Andrew Levey|
Risk: when should you embrace it and when should you run from it?
I'm currently contemplating my next business venture, and this question has taken an outsize position in my mind. It's not because I'm a seasoned or a smart business woman. It's because I'm scared.
The financial collapse was greedy. It did not just fall on financial institutions. When the stock market crashed it took my security, peace of mind, stability. It took my optimistic and carefree approach to life.
And so, I eye risk warily, because it presents a burden of the unknown, and the negative possibilities too often flood my mind.
How much money can I afford to invest in a fledgling business? What returns can I expect? Can I realize my business goals? What if I don't? What if my attempts to free my family from financial insecurity backfire?
Like water rushing from an unplugged fire hydrant, these questions flow with great force, leaving me dripping with anxiety.
Because I don't want to be in that place again: where I could not afford my life; where I lay awake at night because my worry was too great for rest; where contemplating my children's futures blanketed my heart with a deep and lonely sorrow.
Fear's grip is strong and unrelenting. It can prompt soul searching, research, prudence. But it can also thwart opportunity, innovation, and future gain. I've heeded Fear, and I'm walking cautiously, but I've told the old man to loosen his grip.
And so, dear friends, there is more to come. I can't wait to share it with you.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
I planned to start January with a bang. I was fired up. While I joined my family members in the obligatory sleeping, eating, and drinking, that takes place during the holiday season, my mind was elsewhere.
My thoughts weren't focused on presents, pies, and gatherings. Instead, my mind was full of business plans and goals.
Why? I wanted to work more. To take on new projects. To push my limits. To see how much I could achieve in 2014.
I wanted to move from squeaking by to excelling.
I looked forward, then, to that magical Monday in January when my children would return to school. Then, on that beautiful day, I would begin to focus anew on providing for them not just emotionally, but financially.
But that long anticipated Monday was owned by Mother Nature, not me.
In just 24 hours, she took temperatures from 40F to -11F (without windchill). Her frigid gusts rattled through Cleveland, forcing my plans loose in a howling, cold blanket of Northern air. She forced doors closed and wrapped her icy fingers around the town, prompting us to huddle by radiators, despite the sweaters and scarves that bundled us. Everything shut down. Schools closed. My clients cancelled. I got a slow start to the "doing" that I thought would take place in January.
And so, this week, I find myself reaching deep inside, firing up the ambition I was forced to dampen as I spent the week making blueberry pancakes and playing Qwirkle.
It's still there. In fact, it's red hot: so strong I feel edgy, my hands at a constant tremor.
Now I must channel it.