Maps and such

Spent the past few weeks being more lost than ever. Being more overwhelmed and underwhelmed simultaneously. I have done so much self reflection and introspection and haven't quite gotten to "found" but have gotten to a more peaceful head space.

The girls turned 5...5! Where did all of that time go? Wasn't I supposed to be making memories that would last a lifetime? How is it possible that they could be so blurry? I'm sure it's somewhere in my brain but hiding for that last "big show" just before you kick it. Hopefully someday I will remember it all with clarity, but I'm not sure I would take the over or under on it. Life is complicated that way.

I remember my 5th birthday. I wore a pink lace and ruffled party dress with matching purse. It was very 80s and I loved it. I got a swing set as my present and the way I remember it, it was delivered to my backyard birthday party. A boy that I liked was there and I can't really remember him but I think his name was Andy. I felt like a princess. For the next few weeks all I wanted to wear was that pink party dress, maybe I just wanted to recapture that feeling of being a princess.

The five-year old brain is simple that way: wear the dress, feel like a princess, life is good. The path is clear, do this then that. All roads lead to happiness...until you get the green cup when you wanted the purple cup or your crusts were cut off from left to right instead of right to left, but I digress.

My daughters charmed the attendees, played with their friends and had a blast. On the ride home they said it was he best birthday ever and my heart melted a little. I don't know if they will remember all the moving parts and there were no pink party dresses, but I hope when they do remember it, they do so fondly and with breathlessness the way I remember my 5th birthday party. Pure joy.

I can't believe how old they are and how far we have come in this journey of parenthood; a journey that I wasn't  always sure I would ever get to go on. The further we get from our struggles the harder it is to remember. The harder it is to hold them closer to my heart and keep them present when the girls are crazy and not listening or my house is a mess and things are completely out of control.

One of my promises when I was doing IVF was to remember the struggle, to keep it in my mind so I wouldn't take anything for granted. I would remember and cherish every moment. I drew the map when I didn't realize how difficult the journey would be.

Now that I'm here, traveling down all of these roads, the windy ones, the hilly ones, the ones that aren't even paved, I don't always stop to remember how lucky I am. I often forget the days spent scouring the internet looking for hope, and the promise I made to remember where we came from, the struggle.

It's human, I guess. People stop using maps once they memorize how to get to where they are going. And sometimes, if they aren't careful, they don't even remember the drive anymore.



Some days all I do is yell. I yell and I yell and I yell. Sometimes the right thing to do is probably just to politely ask my children to do what I want them to do, but because reality has made yelling a habit it comes out as me yelling.

I hate yelling. It makes me unnerved. It's not how I believe results are produced in business, how could it produce results in four year olds? Newsflash...it doesn't. Yet, at home it's so hard to find a balance that doesn't include yelling.

So tonight when my daughter asked what letter an exclaimation point was as she was looking at a book, I had to explain that it meant that the person was yelling, exclaiming, what they were saying. In this particular book, a mother was telling a child, David, "No peeking!"

David is always getting yelled at in his book series. I bought them in hopes of teaching my children right from wrong without me having to yell, David's mother could do that! It has not worked out that way. In fact, the real reason my daughters love David is that he bares his naked tushy, and what could be more fun than a bare bum?

As I write this, namely to get out the frustrations of my day, I realize that all the yelling and anxiety over doing the right things at home, the things that I find particularly important, is falling on deaf ears, maybe. Only time will tell. So deep breaths and move forward. Deep breaths and prayers for moments of sanity. Moments that prove that I'm doing something right.

Hardest job ever, because there is no one there to let you know whether or not you are performing, whether or not you are doing anything right. Whether or not you will end up fodder for their memoir...


Becoming a Boss

The best boss I ever had was named Nikki. She was probably in her late 20s, early 30s and I was only 19. Nikki thanked me and every employee when we left for the night, which always baffled me because I had been paid to go to work and to complete certain tasks, hadn't I? She always evaluated my work with a keen eye and provided guidance, while still letting me expand my creativity and use my own talents to the best of my ability.

When she promoted me, it was always to areas of the business that I was able to continue to grow, learn and develop. And, for me, the most significant thing she did was show compassion and empathy for me as a human being and my life outside of the walls of work.

Don't get me wrong, if I came in hung over she expressed little sympathy for my headache, previous nights make-up and pale green complexion. But the day she watched me struggle with a sorted romantic relationship full of complexities, she sat me down and told me I was worth more than what he was giving me. She looked me in the eyes and meant every word she said. And while some people, especially those entrenched in the corporate world, would say what she did was unprofessional, I do not.

Nikki gave me strength and knowledge in that moment. She offered a clarity I'm not sure I would have found on my own. She also shortened the time I would have sulked outside smoking cigarettes, made me get up and get back to work without saying those words at all.

When I became a boss, I thought about all the bosses I'd had in the past. I thought about the kind of boss I wanted to be and how I would use the good things and get rid of the bad. Only I didn't realize that being a boss would be the hardest job and responsibility I would have, second only to being a mom.

I've made all sorts of mistakes as a manager. Too many to count or list. But I don't ever think that caring about my employees on a professional AND personal level has ever been one of them. Like Nikki did for me, I want my employees to know that they can lean on me. Why? Because that's how they know I care and when they know I care about them on a human level they will be more inclined to work for me, perform, go above and beyond.

Sure, I have had an employee take advantage of my management style. The important thing as a manager is to recognize it, address it and move forward in whatever way makes the most sense. I'm not saying it's easy, but like I said before, it's the hardest job you'll have. There will always need to be a balance, I just believe that the balance doesn't mean that you have to sacrifice being a person and caring. I find that my employees have more respect for me and are willing to go the extra mile because they know that I am willing to do the same for them.

In life there are times when you should be authoritative with no regard for others, I propose though that being a manager, even being a CEO, does not require you to be tyrannical or inhuman. To be a great CEO, a great manager, requires innovation, integrity, creativity and, most importantly, empathy.

The world is full of intelligent and innovative people, but only a few are truly amazing leaders. Perhaps what separates the two is the ability to balance it all while still remaining human.


starting over

It's been awhile. To see that the girls weren't even one when I last posted amazes me. It feels like a century ago, a lifetime passed. They will be five in less than a month. Our world has surely changed since then. The hard has changed and our capacity to handle it, too. I still feel blessed beyond compare, but I also feel burnt out by this whole working mom and wife thing. It's definitely difficult and despite what people say, it's impossible to "have it all", at least not in the way it's proposed.

After years of focusing solely on work and my family, I feel like I'm at a crossroads. I have never been good at taking care of myself, I don't have a hobby besides helping other people, and I don't really ever relax or sit still. I'm just not very good at it. So, for 2017, I have made self care a priority. It actually started mid-December and I'm still doing pretty well with it.

My venture into self care has included a variety of lifestyle changes including psychotherapy, something I had done in the past but that has felt needed and right at this time in my life. It has made me explore a variety of things about myself and my life. It has me thinking about where I want to be and what I want to do. I have a great, well-paying job, one that I have worked incredibly hard for, but something feels missing lately. I was once entirely fulfilled by my day-to-day. Now, I feel like I have so much more to give and contribute. I feel like I need to be doing more. But what is more? That's what I'm trying to figure out...

So, I'm starting here. Going to roll up my sleeves and get to blogging. This space was once simply reserved my exploration of my struggles with infertility and then finally being a mom, some of those topics won't ever change, but now, I'm going to also explore other topics that I love, that drive me. Entrepreneurialship, marketing, inspiration, creativity, integrity, passion, drive, advice, the list is crazy long. I hope my readers will continue to get value out of this and I hope to pick up some new ones. I hope we can talk and argue and come up with ways to make the world a better place.

I have tons of lofty ambitions, so I leave you with this, what makes you angry, what can't you live without, what gets you out of bed in the morning, what makes you smile? Do that. Work toward that.

So I leave you with this