I Could Care Less!

Really, I could. Care LESS! I’ve realized recently that at times, I over think things to the point of stressing myself out. I’m writing about this cause I know I’m not alone.

We worry about what people think when we come in late or leave a little early.
We worry about what the stay at home moms will think if we don’t volunteer at school.
We worry about what our kid’s teacher will think if we don’t sell cookie dough for the fundraiser.

But really, who cares?!?!

Are you leaning in at work, doing your very best and getting results?
Are you stepping up and carrying your weight when possible to make your school better?
Are you making sure your kids are prepared to be lifetime learners and contributing members of society?

Then stop worrying about it. Stand strong in recognizing the value you are bringing and start caring less about what others might be thinking.

The truth is, you aren’t that important. Most people are not sitting around thinking about what you’re doing. Even if it feels like people are looking at you funny when you sneak out occasionally at 4.

They could care less. They’re too busy worrying about what others are thinking about them!

Caring less! Now that’s how single mom’s lean in!

Take Off for No Reason!

I’m not working today. There’s no reason. No doctor appointments. Not traveling. No where to be.

Yes, it was planned to give me and the girls a little wind down time before school starts on Monday but how much time will we really need at Target and Wal-Mart!

As a leaning in single mom, we rarely just take off to do nothing. I think people call them mental health days and that’s so true! It’s nice just not having to worry about anything or any schedule.

Now I know many of you will say you can’t afford to waste a vacation day like this. Especially knowing school’s starting, kids will get sick etcetera. But I’m starting to think we can’t afford not to.

Time off for vacation or managing your household is not relaxing. If you’re feeling burnt out at all at work, you’re just going to transfer that to being burnt out at home or even worse fried when you get back to the office. We can’t afford this at work or home. We need to find creative ways to rejuvenate in the midst of our crazy lives.

What should you do on days like this?
• sleep late
• get a massage
• enjoy lunch on a patio
• have a midday cocktail
• get your nails done
• take a nap
• exercise
• go on a walk
• wander the mall
• see a rated R movie

The possibilities are endless. Right now, I’m sitting on my back patio with a cup of coffee, enjoying this strange but pleasant cool Texas August. The day is very young.

Now my only regret is I’m starting to think I should have saved one of these days for next week. The girls would already be heading to school and I’d probably be crawling back in bed!

Enjoy your day! I’m definitely going to enjoy mine! That’s how single mom’s lean in!

Do It Your Way!

Randomly, this post is related to Bruno Mars. I saw him in concert the other night and I have to say, he was great. Even better, he was authentic and frankly, that was refreshing. You can say he reminds you of Michael Jackson or anyone else, but you get the feeling he was inspired by them, not that he was trying to be them.

So, that’s the tip today for us single mom’s trying to lean in. Do it your way! You may have been inspired by managers or leaders you’ve worked with, but when you find your right rhythm that’s perfect for you, that’s when you’ll be able to accomplish more and be happier doing it.

What does this mean at work? I’ve mentored a few women in my career and eventually, I usually hear the comment, “but I’m not you.” And that is true. What I do works for me because it’s authentic and true to who I am. But I find so many women who are afraid to be themselves at work. They believe their real personality isn’t professional enough, doesn’t seem powerful enough, isn’t manly enough. I once had a woman who worked for me who was very quiet in meetings. She rarely shared her opinion and people tagged her as an introvert. However, when I had the chance to go to lunch with her, I found a very outgoing, opinionated, funny person. I of course brought this contrast up to her and she told me she didn’t want to seem overbearing or threatening to people. And I understand that, but her choice to hide the real her didn’t result in anything better. When I left that job for a new opportunity, my advice I left her with was to find a way to blend her true personality into her work personality. I hope she has because people like people who are authentic and consistent.

At home, this translates into ‘not keeping up with the Joneses’! Comparing yourself to another mom, single or married is a futile exercise. What we all know is that no one’s life is perfect. But the good news is your kids were made perfectly for you. They were built to stand up to your crazy schedule, traveling, late night projects, and multi-tasking. You may eat out a few more times than you should and they may miss their bedtime more often than you like, but if you accept your way of life, they will too. If you show them that your way is okay too, even if it’s different from their friends, you will teach them one of the most valuable lessons they can learn…to love themselves and be grateful for the life they’ve been given.

Now that’s how single mom’s lean in!

Exhausted Mom? Keep Looking Forward!

I went to the circus this weekend with my 2 girls. Sydney is 8, soon to be 9, and Jordan is 5. She will start kindergarten in just 3 weeks. Hard to believe, but in a matter of weeks, I will have 2 school-aged children! We had tickets through my job, so we were with a few other families that I didn’t know. Between these three young couples, there were 5 kids. All under the age of 3.

Now, my girls wear me out. They fuss, they sass, they talk back. They are far from perfect. But as I watched these families with these young children, I realized on my worst day with the girls at this point, I’m not nearly as drained as I remember being when they were babes. You chase after them. They can’t communicate with you. They throw temper tantrums and don’t understand your threats. It’s hard! And then one day, it’s not as hard. I don’t even know that you notice it when you make the shift. When they can get dressed themselves, walk alongside your grocery cart, graduate to a booster or no car seat at all, buckle their own seat belt. Their smallest steps towards independence free you up to not be so physically, even if you’re still mentally, fried! So to any of you single moms with toddlers or even babies, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s actually not that far away. Kindergarten and elementary school changes a lot in children.

Then after the circus, we were at Wal-Mart. The girls were doing what they do. And I was doing what I do – Keep your hands to yourself! Stay with me! No you can’t have that! Stop! And a mother and her teenage daughter walked by. It was almost like they were circling our craziness cause I saw them several times, but they were just walking, talking, almost like they were just two friends at Wal-Mart. They gave me hope. Again, I know there will be all kinds of mental or emotional things to manage with my teenagers, but the exhaustion that comes from constantly disciplining and fussing at your kids during those elementary years will likely be a thing of the past.

People always say, “You blink and your kindergartner is off to college.” This is only said by people with older children. Because when they’re young, one day can feel like a week. But I think as you progress through the stages, moving closer to that day when all your hard work gets put to the test and they start their own life, you really do start to feel that way. But when they’re young, sometimes you wish you could blink and be waving goodbye to that college student!I don’t blame you. Just keep looking forward, cause in some ways it really does get easier!

Constructive criticism can be fun!

So, I know most of us hate to be criticized and just adding the word constructive in front of it doesn’t make it much better. But if it truly is meant to be constructive, the idea is that it comes from a place of love and from someone who really does want what’s best for you.

I’ve also found that it is actually fun when you get it from a friend or colleague who you tend to laugh with a lot. I have a friend and colleague who basically told me that I ‘look’ taken. Now what does this mean? I believe in some ways this is actually a compliment(Or that’s how I decided to take it). I seem confident and content. Not desperate. I seem comfortable in my own skin. But the truth is, I’m single and I’d like to date and maybe even get married again. So what she was really saying was I don’t look like I’m available and that’s a problem.

What’s made this criticism priceless is that because our first conversation about it was so funny, I actually like talking about it. I’ve asked other people if they agree with the critique and I’ve actually made some adjustments.

Now every time I see her I wait to see if she notices I’m showing a little leg or have a shirt cut a little lower than my norm. If she doesn’t I definitely point it out and we start laughing all over again. Sometimes, its even around other people which allows me another opportunity to remind people: Yes! I’m single and looking 🙂

I believe this approach can work in the workplace too. We’re usually so serious about giving feedback and it’s usually done in a very formal way. But some little things that may just be idiosyncrasies or habits that people have formed over the years may best be addressed in a more casual, humorous way. When you can both sort of laugh about it, it makes it more of a team effort to fix it. Plus, with some light heartedness around it, the one who is criticized will feel more comfortable checking to see if they’re improving or making the necessary changes.

We respond to overall experiences. It’s not necessarily a specific ride at Disney our kids remember, but the overall mood and moments rolled together that make the memory. I believe you can change the experience of receiving feedback for an overall more positive result. So seriously, make a little fun out of your next constructive critique! I think the results will surprise you.

That’s how single mom’s lean in!