Force a Moment!

I had some moments with my girls today. Rare moments cause they were in the late afternoon, early evening, which is a time I don’t typically get to share with them. But I worked from home today, so I had some flexibility to pick them up earlier than usual. Our babysitter’s birthday is this week, so we decided to bake cupcakes for her. I can’t remember the last time all three of us were in the kitchen taking turns with the blender. It was nice. Little to no fighting, homework got done and mom even made a home cooked meal for once! I think we all felt more relaxed at the end of night.

It made me start thinking about people who work for me. Things seem to be so busy at work, that I barely have time to spend with people on my team. If we aren’t talking about a specific project, it’s a quick hello, how are you and that’s about it for the day. Yesterday, I finally got to spend some time with one of my direct reports because she kindly offered to take me to get my car that was in the shop.

Frankly, I think she realized this was her chance to get a moment with me. My undivided attention, for once.

We talked about things that had probably been brewing for weeks and connected on things that reminded us that we actually like working with each other. And we shared a moment, where we laughed, hard and realized we’re both just people, both moms trying to do our very best.

I think you have to force a moment sometimes. Not the actual moment. But I think you need to create the environment to let moments happen. The truth is, they don’t take much, maybe just us slowing down a bit.

So, think about someone you’ve been trying to connect with or have felt disconnected from. It may be a co-worker, your kids, a friend, your mom. I don’t know but I know that I’m not the only busy one and I’m not the only feeling like some days I’m missing out on the moments. Just slow down long enough in the presence of that person to create a space where connecting is easy. Trust me. That moment will be worth whatever else you think you’re missing.

Now, that’s how single mom’s lean in!

Center of Attention!

So, my first born, Sydney, thrives on being the center of attention. I think this has a lot to do with birth order as well as the fact that she has always gotten a lot of attention. Her first adjustment was school, when she had to learn to share the spotlight with 19 other kids in the classroom. She had a hard time understanding why the teacher paid attention to anyone but her! 

She’s gotten a little more comfortable with this concept, but last weekend, I watched this issue manifest in a different way. 

My daughter was at a party of an older girl she is close to. She is a couple years older than Sydney, but she also had other friends there that were older than her. So the gap between Sydney and some of the girls was 3 or 4 years. Before I left Sydney came to me with a panicked look in her eyes. I asked her what was wrong and she started crying. She explained to me that she felt weird and she didn’t know what to do.

Now, this is never Sydney’s issue. She is a very confident girl, who usually is the first to try something, the first to speak and the first to join in. But, she didn’t feel comfortable because they were talking about things she didn’t really know about and things that her and her 8 year old friends don’t worry about yet. But that’s not what really made her uncomfortable, the fact is she didn’t know what to do with herself if she wasn’t going to be the center of attention, the one talking, the one being listened to.

I think for a lot of us at work, we sometimes feel like this. We feel like if we aren’t leading the project, if we aren’t running the meeting, if we don’t have all the answers, we don’t know what to do. I think we should do the same thing I told Sydney.

Sit back and learn something from others around you.

We so often think leaning in is doing more, taking a seat at the table, speaking up, fighting to get noticed. I believe, particularly for strong, assertive women, learning how to sit back and not be the center of attention is sometimes harder, but often  times more fruitful. If you’re a leader, you’ll be able to better observe those who work for you and discern their real abilities. If you are working on a project, you’ll find others will step up to the plate if you let them, actually freeing up some of your bandwidth.

You’ll also very likely become more like-able. Let’ s face it. No one likes the little girl who always has to be the center of attention, not sharing the spotlight with anyone.

So challenge yourself. Make yourself sit back and listen, not talk in a meeting, not be the one with all the ideas. Be a learner, a listener, a supporter. You may feel like a fish out of water, but you’ll appreciate the water (being the center of attention)much more when you get back in!

Now, that’s how single mom’s lean in!

Time to make the donuts!

I think most of us remember that Dunkin’ Donuts commercial where that poor guy would get up in the dark hours of the morning to make the donuts and grumble almost incoherently, Time to make the donuts. But how many of us remember watching that and panicking that one day that might be us. Surprise!  You’re the new star of that very commercial. It’s called Life!

I don’t know that I have some great advice to give you about this. But I will tell you, I’m right there with you. And frankly, I think most people are. Life has a rhythm to it that basically gets a little redundant after a while. What’s interesting is that our lives have a ton of ups and downs, unexpected events and challenges, yet we still find ourselves being bored.

And like I said, I think this is pretty universal. I believe it has nothing to do with being over stretched as a single mom, or overworked as a leaning in professional or overly lonely as a single. Married women will tell you the same thing. Stay at home moms – yep! they feel this way too.

So, what I would tell you is don’t start wallowing in this feeling. When you start feeling it, recognize it for what it is. Understand it’s natural and normal. Try to do something to shake up your schedule. Start a new exercise program. Plan a vacation. Change up your get ready routine. Get a new hair cut. Start a DIY home improvement project. Do something that gives you a new pep in your step.

Now, if it’s really severe, this feeling of being stuck in a rut, don’t blow it off. Sometimes we need to seek help and shouldn’t be afraid to do so.

But for most of us, we just need to buck up and take the need for variety into our own hands.

That’s how single mom’s lean in!

Click on the donut to watch the commercial!

Dog Days

About a month ago, I did something completely unplanned and monumental. We got a dog. I wasn’t even thinking about taking this leap for another couple years. But there was a lot going on and I was feeling sentimental, so I did it. Spur of the moment! I mean we left home for groceries and came home with a puppy!

And I’m not going to lie, I’ve had moments when I’ve already said aloud to myself, “What were you thinking?” And the truth is, I wasn’t! But I realized today that in the greater scheme of things, this was a great decision.

Why having a dog helps an already busy mom who’s trying to lean in?
1. Helps teach your children responsibility
2. Gives your children a greater sense of family
3. Gets you and your family outside
4. Gets you home
5. Keeps you occupied
6. Gives you a companion
7. Shows your children unconditional love
8. Brings great joy
9. Teaches your children compassion
10. Reminds you that material things aren’t so important

And that’s just the top ten.

All this came to me as the girls, Sophie the dog, and I were sitting outside having an impromptu picnic on a blanket. We were out there cause the dog was getting restless inside, so we took her on a mini walk in the front yard. She found some shade under a tree and laid down. Next thing I know, I’m getting the blanket, Sydney’s making sandwiches, Jordan’s grabbing the dog’s bowls and we’re having one of the best moments of an already nice, long weekend.

Getting Sophie without any real thought was a little crazy, and she is a lot of work. But sometimes, we have to let go of all of our logical reasons to do or not do something. In the end, I believe we’d all be surprised by how much we get out of those ‘unplanned’ decisions.

Now, that’s how single mom’s lean in!