January 2016 - Baby Steps in High Heels

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The 100th Day of School

4:30 PM 0
The 100th Day of School
I LOVE teachers, especially my kids’ teachers. But. I am 100% OVER the 100 things that I have been asked to do to celebrate the 100th day of school!!

I posted that on social media this week in a mild rant, but mild quickly escalated as I opened my daughter’s folder to find even more projects this weekend. Projects that were really for me to do, since she is in kindergarten.

We had already made a shirt with 100 pink rhinestones glued (no stickers, per the teacher's request). This was totally perfect for her personality, but a not-so-perfect match for me given my complete ineptitude when it comes to anything crafty.


I had the lunch with 100 items mostly planned out – 1 yogurt, 1 bowl of macaroni, 1 orange, 1 apple sauce, 1 juice box, 50 raisins, 25 M&Ms, and 20 pretzels. There is NO way she’ll ever eat that much in the 22 minutes they have for lunch, but I was trying to play nice.

I did the Sign-up genius for the 100-things projects they’ll be doing throughout the day. I’m guessing we’ll have a lovely 100-piece Fruit Loop necklace sent home on Wednesday.

It was already a lot. A. LOT.

Then we received her homework … how many times did she think she could do various things in 100 seconds? And how many times could she actually do them? Sooo … we clapped, blinked, hopped, sang (shouted) the ABCs, counted to 10, and a few other things.

Finally, “she” was tasked with collecting 100 things to put in a bag that she’ll tell her class about on Wednesday. Husband suggested 100 pieces of imagination. If wine corks weren’t an integral part of my home d├ęcor, I might have dropped 100 into the bag as a not so subtle hint that I might be over this whole thing. Seriously, I almost wrote write on the paper: I do NOT have time for this.


But, we pushed through. She ‘collected’ 100 M&Ms, and we called it a day.

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy these projects or the time we spent doing them together. It’s just … a lot. 

As a working parent, though I’m sure as any parent, who has time for ALL of this? It felt a little like that part of Marry Poppins where they jumped into the sidewalk-chalk scene … only, in our case, we jumped into the teacher’s Pinterest board and now we’re all rain-drenched, attempting to dash back to reality.

I do hope all of you enjoy the 100th Day of School … if you’ve put in nearly as much work as I have, your kids should have a blast!!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Is a business trip a mommy vacation?

1:22 PM 1
Is a business trip a mommy vacation?
Is a business trip a “mommy vacation” of sorts? I have always resisted this idea, because I’m not getting away to relax; I am working. In fact, I have often gone so far as to resent the implications of suggesting that a work trip should be considered a vacation. Yes, I know that Husband changed ALL the diapers while I was away, but that shouldn’t exempt him from parenthood in general upon my return. (Disclaimer: he has NEVER expected this, but I know some spouses who do).

Over the years, I have been so resistant the this notion and the stage it might set if I accepted this line of thinking that I might have missed out on the ways that business trips can actually rejuvenate a tired momma. Last week, my sales meeting provided one evening of an ‘excursion’ for those who wished to take in the local sites of Palm Springs. Many chose the tram up the mountain. Others selected a casino night. I found myself, without any premeditation, on the bus with every other mom of young children … the dinner and shopping activity. It was too obvious to ignore: this four-hour stint was our little mommy vacation.

We ate dinner. We ordered food that required two hands to eat. We took more than three and a half minutes to consume our food. We had drinks. Fun drinks that we wouldn’t normally have ordered. We didn’t rush. We thought we might make it out to a little shopping, but were totally okay if we didn’t. We laughed. We relaxed. It felt like we were on a little vacation.  

On the short trip back to our hotel, I found myself reflecting on the ways that a business trip CAN feel like a vacation, and why it’s okay to embrace it as such….

Extra sleep leaves you feeling rejuvenated. Given that I have only slept through the night a handful of times in the last six years, I am grateful for any sleep-related bonus: sleeping through the night, having an entire king-sized bed to myself, waking up to an alarm clock rather than a screaming child trying to poop, having the option to hit the snooze button … these things alone can seem like a little slice of heaven for an exhausted mom.

The small things count: not having to rush through a meal, having time to shave your legs in a hot shower, and walking out the door with two matching shoes cannot be overlooked as perks of a little alone time. But that is just the beginning (and a bit of a sad-but-true testament to the nature of motherhood).

Butler Service. Okay, maybe not really butler service, but when you have somebody else making your bed and your food all day, every day, it can certainly feel like a vacation. I mean, in real life, we’re making 3 meals plus 2 snacks every single day for 4 people … a break from that alone decently rivals the view of my toes in the sand.


Me time. Am I the last person in the world to discover Serial? Probably. Regardless of that fact, though, I binge-listened to the entire first season and the first few episodes of the second while on my various flights last week. I’m not one to work on a plane, so I definitely had the time. It was fantastic. I can’t remember the last chance I had time to binge on anything other than a sleeve of thin mints. Speaking of which …

It’s okay to eat dessert. Really, it is. It’s paid for. It would be rude not to. Everyone else is doing it. You really don’t have a choice, so there is no point in feeling guilty. Eat the dessert. Order the steak, the appetizer, the coffee. Just enjoy it. It’s what you’d do on vacation, right?

So, no, we are not really on vacation when we travel for business. I saw more of a conference room than the beautiful dessert last week. (Really, it was dark when I flew in, dark when I flew out, and I only went outside that one evening for our excursion … the Hard Rock Hotel was pretty awesome, though!)

Buuuutttt … there are still quite a few perks that we should allow ourselves to enjoy. I can’t think of a single reason not to, so I’m going with: YES, yes we should absolutely enjoy the coffee and the sleep and the dessert. Mental vacations sometimes carry just as much weight as real ones.


Of course, now that I’ve finished this post, I think it’s probably time to just take a liiiittle peak at summer flight schedules ... 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Still

4:08 AM 0
Still
Apparently my word for 2015 was move. It’s safe to say that I forgot about this resolution as quickly as I blogged it, or, rather I forgot to be intentional about it any time after about mid-January. I was able to move a lot in 2015, literally and figuratively, but probably not as much as I would have liked. Fitbit tells me I had a decent number of steps each day, but that might be the only measurable account of my objectives.

As we move into 2016, I have thought again about selecting a single word to guide me through the year. I’ve given consideration to several words that attempt to get at an overall goal … calm, slow, settle, relax, replenish. These are all great words, but nothing seemed to fit just right. Then it hit me ….

STILL.


I didn’t mean arrive at a word with the exact opposite meaning from the one I chose last year. I’m not sure if there is a bigger meaning here or not.

And, I am not even sure that still is exactly the right word, but I had a hard time finding a single word with the following definition: stop rushing around all day every day because it stresses everyone out and we are rarely able to enjoy each other without feeling like we are neglecting other obligations.

So I settled on STILL.

Life will continue to rush ahead around me. I am an on-the-go mom with an on-the-go family, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. There will be business trips, grocery trips, and never a free weekend. We are in the little years with our kids, which means there is rarely a spare moment to claim as our own. These are things I cannot change.

In fact, I am not even sure I know how to be still.

But I’d like to try.

Because I think that, even if I am not successful, but as long as I try … I might end up finding wonderful things in the still.

Rock the ‘baby’ instead of putting him right back to bed in fear of creating bad habits. At almost 3-years-old, he is rarely still anymore. Enjoy the still with him. These moments are precious.

Shoes, and coats, and backpacks … rushing out the door every morning just to beat the build-up in the carpool line makes perfect, logistical sense. Leaving a minute or two later than usual and NOT sniping at my sweet-stop-and-smell-the-roses child makes even more sense. She knows how to be still. Learn from her.

A cup of coffee. A glass of wine. A hot meal. These are not meant to be rushed. Or enjoyed in the light of a smart phone. Multi-tasking is my lifeblood, but it should be so only when necessary rather than set as my default mode.

Still … life is moving so quickly around us. My goal is not to stop it, or even slow it down. I wouldn't even know where to start. I would like, however, to stop crawling into bed each night to the first still moment of my day.

Plus, God commands it, so it seems like a good place to start …


Psalm 46:10 - “Be still, and know that I am God.”