Monday, May 19, 2008

Tales from the Soccer Field

As I watched my almost 6 year old son play U6 soccer this weekend, I saw this transformation. My little sweet boy was suddenly much more aggressive and scoring goals all over the place. Now this was great but, in the process, I saw a few of the other kids feeling bad because they could not keep up with him. I also saw him engage in a few "not so sportsmanlike" comments with the other team.

As parents, we walk a fine line when helping our kids navigate the social landscape. Having been a quiet child, I don't want Zachary to be pushed around the way that I sometimes was but I also don't want him to be the bully. As I talk to other parents, it seems to be a common concern.

So how do you walk that line? And, as parents working together towards this goal, it's becoming apparent that my husband and I don't always share common beliefs. So there are also some stereotypes and gender parenting differences at play. I would welcome other thoughts on this subject so please feel free to post.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

National Hug Your Kids Day

This morning I read a newsletter that highlighted the efforts of Michelle Nichols, a former writer of and creator of National Hug Your Kids Day on July 21. On her website, Michelle speaks about how important it is for working parents to connect with their kids:

This article and concept really resonates with me. You know the do we get our jobs done, meet those deadlines while trying to help out at school, be there for games and attending school events? There's no easy way. But if you can do it, if you can leave early and put in extra time from home after the kids are in bed, then DO IT.

As I have said in previous posts, there are days when I'm a better employee - working late, attending evening events that are important for my company. And there are some days when I'm a better mother. But it's always important to keep the priorities straight, to know what matters most. My job is very fulfilling and interesting. It's important to me to excel, to make my mark. But nothing is more important to me than my family.

Please join me in celebrating National Hug Your Kids Day on July 21 - what a great concept!


Monday, May 12, 2008

Are you a control freak?

I am. Don't believe me? Here are some examples:
  • I have been known to stand next to my daughter while she's eating so that I can quickly wipe the dripping food from her mouth.
  • I don't let my husband fold my laundry because I don't like how he does it.
  • I practically knocked a colleague out of the way when he was putting up holiday decorations for an office party because I didn't like where he was placing them.

Think I'm nuts? I'll bet some of my readers would be able to relate to these stories. I tell you about my obsessive tendencies because I have been able to overcome them in small ways. I find that by letting go of one thing at a time, it makes things less overwhelming.

If you delegate one thing at work this week, you will get a feel for letting go. And then maybe next week, you can choose not to freak out when your little girl has to wear her princess t-shirt for the third day in a row. And then the week after that, you can zip your mouth when your husband puts the dishes away in the wrong places even though he has used the same things in the same cabinets forever.

Hey, I said I was trying to let go but I don't have to be happy about it all the time.


Friday, May 9, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

If you are like me, you have received a million emails and offers re: Mother's Day. So I won't belabor the point. But I would like to wish my friends and family, as well as all of the mothers out there, a Happy Mom's Day.

Just as an aside, I told my husband that we (meaning us and the kids, in addition to my parents) should go out for brunch. To this he said, "I don't want to spend the whole day eating - I want to go out for breakfast." So, I tried to remind him that it's called MOTHER'S Day for a reason and if I want to spend the whole day stuffing myself with french toast and mimosas, then that's my prerogative. So go ahead and treat yourself to the kind of day you want, whether that's bike riding with your kids, sleeping all day or going to a movie.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Empower Yourself

The other day, I read a book review that included a very keen observation of women and men in the workplace. If a man has something to attend to that takes him out of the office during regular business hours, he lets people know that he will be out and that's the end of it. However, if a woman has an outside commitment, she tells all about it - what she has to do, how long it will take and throw in an apology at the end of it all. This does not necessarily include all women but there are many of us who are guilty of this.

That being said, I recently made the determination that I need to work from home from time to time. I have a much longer commute that takes me away from my family much more than in the past so I recognize that I need to do this in order to stay connected with my kids and what's going on for them at school.

When I mentally decided to do this, I started working through a whole speech in my head that I would deliver to my boss - why I needed to do this, how often, etc. Somewhere after this mental speech was developed, I stopped and thought about whether this was truly necessary. The real answer is that it's not. I'm a professional and have a proven track record of excellent work that exceeds expectations. And when I work from home, I am actually less distracted than I am at the office, accomplishing my work in less time.

Although I'm often hard on myself, I would like to publicly give myself a pat on the back, both for recognizing and changing my behavior for the better.

Today, I am working from home and spent an hour helping out at my son's school. I got to watch him interact with other kids, speak to his teacher and reconnect with his daily routine. That hour was priceless. So here's to working mothers who empower themselves and stay true to their priorities. I am one of those mothers today and proud to be.