October 2015 - Baby Steps in High Heels

Friday, October 23, 2015

Working Mom Guilt

9:17 AM 2
Working Mom Guilt
There is an awesome group called Working Moms Against Guilt. I love their mission, but I am afraid that I’m not very good at fighting the working mom guilt myself … especially at this late point in my sales season. I’ve had overnight business trips, lunch time conference calls, and a ton of daily meetings and appointments, all of which have taken me away from precious family time in some capacity or another.

I can usually rationalize my circumstances, but I tend to come a little undone toward the end of a long sales season. And, I’m pretty sure my {teeny, tiny, innocent} children can smell my guilt from a mile away.

“Don’t “weave” me, Mommy!” cries the two-year-old.

“But, Mom! Aaaaalllll the other moms come have lunch with their children. Because they love their children,” insists the Kindergartener.

And, y’all, at this point, I am tired. I do feel guilty. And, I buy into every single word.

This should be the point where the wheels fall off of the cart when it comes to being organized and meal prepping, and alltheother crap I try to start the season off with in order to maintain some sanity. This should be the point where we slow down and I am happy just to remember to throw an applesauce into their lunchboxes before we run out the door. This should be the point when I start to relax.

But, no. Instead, this is the point where the guilt has finally overtaken my rational mind and turned me into Stepford-like crazy person.

“No, honey, you don’t have to go to daycare after school. I would be happy to take 45 minutes out of my day to sit in the ridiculous pick-up line and get you myself. Then, I’ll bring you home so you can watch Netflix and ask me a million questions while I “work” this afternoon.”

“Hey, why don’t we walk to school today? I totally have time for that!”

“It’s still nighttime, buddy, but of course I will hold you until the alarm rings. Or, better yet, let’s just get up at 5:00 a.m. on a Saturday so we can spend some quality time together.”

May I just say that aaaaaalllll the other moms are actually not eating lunch with their kids at school every day. I know this because I fell for that one, too.

Do you have mommy guilt? How do you overcome it? Please share your wisdom …

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Better Beauty with Beautycounter

11:26 AM 2
Better Beauty with Beautycounter
I promise this blog will not turn into a Beautycounter marketplace, and posts about skin care will not take over my social media platforms …. But I do want to tell you why I have chosen to sign up as a consultant with Beautycounter. It’s important.

Over the last few years, I have had an increasing number of personal friends diagnosed with cancer or autoimmune disorders. The numbers are high … about a half dozen of each (cancer & autoimmune) in just the last three or four years. We are talking about young, active, otherwise healthy women in their 30s. We are talking about moms with young kids. We are talking about my friends.

At first, the news was shocking. Gradually, it has sadly become a little more commonplace, and I am not really happy about that fact. I am not ready to sit back and accept these kinds of diagnoses. Before I move further, I want to say that I absolutely believe that these things can and do occur naturally. I also happen to believe that our environment can be a contributing factor.

If you’ve ever looked at my bio, it says that I’m ‘into clean eating’ … but the truth is that I want to be into clean eating. It’s a much more difficult (and expensive) task to accomplish, though, than I’d like to admit. Every time I turn around, some food item that I had deemed safe would be discredited (seriously, there’s no longer any legitimacy to that ‘an apple a day’ mantra). What we put into our bodies is a great responsibility, and it’s one I struggle with daily.

It took me a long time to realize that what we put on our bodies is just as big of a responsibility. When I did take that leap, I dramatically threw a ton of perfectly full bottles of shampoo, soap, and lotion right into the trash. I immediately ordered a variety of organic, natural, safe products to try out. Most of them kind of sucked. There were a few that I really loved at first, but then did weird things like leave behind interesting smells or build-up in my hair. Others simply didn’t work. (Um, have you ever tried ‘natural’ deodorant?) I quickly ruled almost every single one out.

When I posted on my Facebook page for suggestions, my friend from The Gray Matters immediately suggested Beautycounter. I think I fell in love with the company before I even tried the products. The founder wrote about wanting to create products that were better regulated, that didn’t contain known carcinogens, and that were generally better and safer for the women using them. I loved this idea, but I was definitely still skeptical given my recent experience with these kinds of products. Luckily, Beautycounter has sample sets that allow you to try some of their products before purchase … and I did just that! I was so excited when I realized that I not only liked this company’s model and purpose, but that I also liked their products.

“I’ll just sign up for the personal discount,” is what I said. It’s what I told myself and my consultant. And, I really meant it. For about a minute. The thing is, y’all, now that I have these products in hand, and now that I see how well they work, it’s hard to keep it all to myself. It’s even harder to watch friends and family continue to use products that contain ingredients that have literally been outlawed in other countries. The U.S. has incredibly poor regulations on skin care and cosmetic products and has only banned about 11 ingredients compared to almost 1400 ingredients banned in Europe.

I promised that I wouldn’t turn this blog into a daily sales pitch, but I did want to share this story and offer my help. If you want to learn more about products that are safer for you, safer for your family, and still work really well, please let me know! I would love to help.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I talk about my kids when I am at work ...

1:44 PM 6
I talk about my kids when I am at work ...
As mothers, balancing work and family is a constant juggling act. Some days it feels more like a struggle. Some days I feel like a damn super hero.

On the days when I struggle, I am plagued with the feeling that I am never exactly where I am supposed to be. When I am at work, I feel as though I should be with my kids, and vice versa.

On the days when I channel Wonder Woman, I often look up around 10:00 a.m. and marvel at everything I have already accomplished. {Then, I realize that I have been awake for 5 hours and promptly feel a little more human.}

I definitely struggle when I need to bring work home with me, which is often given the seasonal nature of my job. And, ‘bringing work home’ can actually look like several different things in my life. It can simply be opening my laptop after the kids are in bed, or it can mean long-distance phone calls and hotel stays and the very obvious absence of mommy.

In those moments, I question everything. Is the time away worth it? Am I really where I am supposed to be? Will they know that this is hard on me too? Or will they only remember that mommy was gone a lot?

A fellow working mommy recently lamented that her daughter wants to be “a busy, busy, busy woman” when she grows up, an obvious emulation of her mother. I commiserated that my own daughter has shared that she wants to be a “girl who goes to lots of meetings and has her own computer” when she grows up (as a side job to her Pop Star gig, of course).

It can be hard to reconcile the demands of a career with the heartstrings of a mother. One of the ways that I attempt to maintain balance is in keeping my family at the forefront of my mind, even at work. In fact, I do this especially when I am at work.

Modern women often feel discouraged from overlapping business with family life, and I do make every effort to separate the truly personal aspects. But I talk about my kids when I am at work. A lot. I never shy away from mentioning their names or from sharing funny stories. I am not afraid to explain that I am tired today because the baby was up all night or that I need to leave early for a pediatrician appointment.

This is my life, and my life doesn’t prevent me from doing my job or from doing it well. In fact, I think I am more productive now, with kids, than ever before. I will not exclude them or separate them or shy away from a family reference if I think it has relevance.  

I have actually built up great rapport with customers and co-workers over topics like child care and potty training and the terrible twos. And, for now, the reason I know why I really am where I am supposed to be is simple: when I talk about my kids at work, people listen. They reply. They share their own stories and experiences. We’re all in this together, and we do better when we can be open and honest about real life.