Diary of A Mad, Interesting Woman

Welcome to the random (and sometimes ratchet) ramblings in my head about life, love and pop culture.

Tag: motherhood

What I Know For Sure

Birthday Reflections & Ish Like That …

So … #ThisIs38

A few years ago I was included in the “What I Know For Sure” section of O Magazine and I shared perspective on not being defined by the roles we lead (i.e. mother, sister, daughter, etc.), but prioritizing and nourishing your individual spirit and soul in order to be the best you can for everyone else (and I’m paraphrasing in case some of yall are still holding on to your copies). As I learned recently at #Blogalicious9, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” Hallelujah and moment of silence for that little piece of wisdom …

Today is my born day (one time for #ScorpioSeason) and I can’t help but consider what I know for sure at this point in life. Seems that I’ve recently been involved in lots of deep conversation with girlfriends, my Hubby Honey, my Mama, my Boss and others about the lessons I’ve learned and the level of “sureness” I feel cloaked in these days. More important, it wasn’t a magical occurrence that just happened to me. My “sureness” is the result of intent. I’m living my life like its golden and operating within a level of freedom that I don’t think I’d ever experienced before now. I made the choice to be happy, to believe in myself and to throw a (metaphorical, and at times, tangible) middle finger to distractions. I’m living a life that I’m proud of and truth defined by me and only me. I. Am. So. Free.

As I celebrate this 38th *ahem* year of my life, here’s what I know for sure:

  • I no longer require any form of external validation to inspire or empower my internal thoughts, beliefs or ideas. For years, naturally, I sought approval from my friends, needed my lover(s) to assure me that I’m pretty, needed my managers to validate my smart thinking and my family to champion my tireless role as protector and provider. The expectation and necessity of the validation was so subtle that it took me a long time to pinpoint it was there. It drove me to seemingly inconsequential insecurity that metastasized into anger and resentment when I didn’t receive it. I finally decided I don’t need it. It was a cross too heavy to bear. Removing the focus from receiving my validation externally and empowering that positive energy inside has been likely one of my greatest rites of passage as a woman. Doing so has created this powerful level of self-awareness, self-love and self-confidence. It’s been one of my wisest intentional moves.

  • I’ve created healthy boundaries (for the most part) in my personal and professional relationships. For example, my loved ones (which include my Hubby Honey, Parents, Siblings, Girlfriends and extended family) are my lifeblood. In this life, it has been a privilege, and at times, a burden to serve them. It’s cost me peace of mind more often than I can reasonably quantify and I realized that it is 100 percent MY FAULT. We show people how to treat us, and too often, we operate within our familiar roles at unsustainable levels. Your loved ones don’t intend to overstep or abuse your over-commitment, but it happens. And it was happening to me. A LOT. So, I took a step back about three years ago and began to redefine my role, my expectations, my preferred level of commitment and the healthy level of reciprocity I needed within my familiar relationships. Doing so has freed me to support my loved ones absent of guilt, resentment, fear or worry. And, if someone doesn’t agree with my level of interaction or commitment, I leave that as a cross for them to bear. Cause as my Nik Nak taught me long ago – “What you eat don’t make me sh*t”. Word.

  • My heart is big. My tongue is sharp. My patience is thin. I’m extremely passionate (a true Scorpio). And, I’m funny as hell. I used to be reticent to say that about myself because it felt obnoxious to speak it, but no more. *picks up megaphone* I’M FUNNY AS HELL! Maybe not stand-up comedian funny, but I’ve been known to draw a crowd and bring down the house. #realtalk … my inner spirit is doing THIS most of the time …

Moving on …

  • I have a new found spiritual connection to my sexuality and pride in my body image that has skyrocketed my confidence. It’s not JUST about my looks (though your girl is killing it these days with this snatched waistline and size back to what I was in high school *hair flip*), but rather my internal confidence, keen self-awareness, my energy and this connection to a sense of … “knowing” about myself. My Grandma Mable used to say to me, “One day you just gone know what you know.” I never really understood that until now. Today, I own my confidence without shame, fear, ego or vanity. It’s my truth. It’s just as real as breathing.

  • I love being a woman, and more specifically, a black woman. There’s the fun stuff about being a girl like dressing up, makeup, all things shiny and sparkly, etc. But being a black woman comes with this Herculean strength, unicorn-level magic, enviable sense of wit, epic ability to clap back and shade and multidimensional talent. I am every woman and I BAWSE up in every gawt damn aspect of my life. Boardroom, bedroom, kitchen. I cooks, Baby. While my awareness to this perspective has been slow, my pride and ownership of it is SO here and SO real for me right now. I believe its actual tangible energy that even others feel when they are with me. I’m beaming in the skin I’m in. And loving every minute.

  • My relationship with God is real and tangible. It used to feel mythical. Perhaps because it was the product of the articulation of other people’s experience with Him. Today, we have our own vibe. My Jesus is trill! He MUST be because He created me and I stay on level trill at ALL times. I can feel Him … tangibly feel Him, hear Him and sense Him in all that I do. It’s pretty incredible. There’s not a moment I’m not mindful of Him, chatting in my mind with Him and hearing His response. I’ve tapped in and He’s reciprocated in the most beautiful fashion. It’s provided a much-needed compass as I carry two of my most important roles: Wife and Mom. And it’s endeared me to Him in such a personal way. #IluhGod #youdontluhGod #whatswrongwithyou

So … here I am! Big, bad and bold AF (said in my Ike Turner “What’s Love Got to do With It” voice – LOL). Loving myself and every aspect of my journey. I regret nothing. I’m present in every moment because I don’t want to miss a thing. And with that comes a continual birth of my being … which I am SO here for.

#ThisIs38

And many mooooooooooooooooooooooooore 🙂

Love You. Mean It.

@AskThePRGirl

Introducing “AskThePRGirl”

dear-abby-sample

It’s been a long time, I shouldn’t left you …

Soooooooo … it’s been a few weeks!  Life got really busy for me.  Work has been so busy I’ve barely had time to breathe!  Trying to manage my personal and professional life has been a seriously difficult task.  Thank the good Lord for my husband who has stepped in to be Mr. Mom.  He’s been taking the baby to school and picking him up.  He’s been “cooking” :-).  He’s been my right hand.  My  rock.  I couldn’t do this … be this brilliant … shine this bright without his support.  I love you, Bryan … more than anything in this world.

When I was a little girl, I used to LOVE the “Dear Abby” column in the newspaper.  I would wonder, “Who is this woman who knows everything from the best cleaning tips to etiquette to relationship and family advice?! She’s amazing!”  She was my idea of the “perfect” woman.  Well … my Mom, Claire Huxtable and Abby.  They were my top three.  Abby was sensible and never chastised too harshly.  She seemed loving, and from what I remember, showed an endearing level of honesty that I truly respected.  I always dreamed that one day I would be her.  I just knew that I would be able to eventually provide my own quirky, tell-it-like-it-is advice to all people.  So today feels pretty cool to realize that dream in my own little way.

Allow me to introduce “AskThePRGirl”, a place where you can talk to me about anything.  I’m a wife, mother, sister, friend, executive and woman of God (when I’m not being incredibly ratchet).  I have experienced SO many things in my life and one of my “gifts” (and we all have many) is prescribing a good dose of loving and common sense advice for just about anything.  I’m not always right, but that’s not my goal.  My goal is to listen, or rather, let you know there’s someone here to listen.

This is a judgment free zone so feel free to ask me anything.  Your identity will be protected so never worry about that. If I know, I’ll share. If I don’t, I’ll tell you, and even better, I’ll pray with you.  I’m not here to solve your problems.  I’m here to be an objective, loving sounding board or simply provide best practices that I’ve learned through ALL of the roles I carry.  Once a month (or as my schedule allows), I’ll answer a few of the questions submitted through DM on Twitter (follow me @AskThePRGirl) or email (dhaley@haleygroupllc.com). And don’t fret! This is in addition to my other schedule weekly posts :-).

Let’s get started!  Below are a few questions that I received the past few weeks:

Dear AskThePRGirl – My man and I have been together for many years.  It seems that since the birth of our children, we don’t talk or hang out as much as we used to.  And our love life has slowed as well. I really miss that.  I miss him and us. What should I do to turn things around before too much time goes by and we just don’t know each other anymore?

Thanks, WorriedAboutUs*

Dear WorriedAboutUs – First, you should know that you’re experiencing something that every relationship encounters, especially once you introduce children: a lack of intimacy.  I would first caution against a few things that women tend to do when our men ain’t (yes I said “ain’t”) acting right or when the relationship is not giving us what we need.

  1. Don’t nag him. Much like you, he’s tired and doing his best to take care of the family and make it to the weekend. Nagging him makes him likely to avoid communication with you at ALL costs which defeats the point. By nagging, I mean complaining about the state of the relationship at really inappropriate times. For example, when he FIRST steps in the door after work.  He doesn’t want to hear your mouth as soon as he gets home any more than you want him climbing on top of you after a day of house cleaning, wrangling the children and the 365 million other things you take care of in a day. #RealTalk
  2. Don’t communicate the issue using EVERY OTHER communication tool BUT communication.  What do I mean? He asks you to pass the salt at the dinner table and you angrily slide it down the table.  You snap at him for the smallest things.  You start fights about things you wouldn’t normally fight about. Don’t cower to your feelings and insert randomness and chaos into your relationship by refusing to clearly communicate your concerns.
  3. Don’t withhold sex as punishment. Sex is where you two can commune, look into each other’s eyes and speak without speaking.  It’s such a critical part of your relationship and certainly the part that speaks the loudest to your man.  Please believe … what I can’t audibly tell my husband is communicated when we are intimate. I make sure he “feels” me. Understand? 😉

My quick and dirty advice: be the example and tell him how you feel. Don’t start the conversation when he’s tired and he’s had a LONG day.  Schedule a date night.  Get someone to watch the kids and make reservations at a nice restaurant.  Use that time to talk about things.  Not just about what’s “wrong” with the relationship, but about everything!  Ask him how he’s been.  Ask about how work is going and if he’s still happy at work.  Plug into him and show him (rather than tell him) the type of communication and intimacy you’re seeking.  Do for him exactly what you’d like done for you.  And do it often!  The best way to teach behavior is to demonstrate it again and again.

Know that it will take time and it will not happen overnight, but the more you invest the effort, the more it will become clear that you need this shift in your relationship.  And while men are simple and sometimes must be hit by a rock to get things, I’m sure your man will eventually tune back in to the need to restore intimacy in your relationship.

dividerDear AskThePRGirl,

I feel an insane amount of guilt every time I stop at a drive-thru window on the way home from work to feed my family.  There is simply not enough time in the day to do everything and I find myself having to cut corners on the things I deem important like cooking for my kids and taking care of my home.  My house has been a mess for weeks now. I clean as much as I can, but my focus tends to be on what’s necessary to make it through the week.  You’re a Mom. Do you feel guilty when you can’t be the “perfect” Mom?

Thanks, Imperfect Mom*

Dear Imperfect Mom,

Join the club, lady! I hear you and I feel you.  My house looks like a modern day war zone on most days. My kid has eaten more fast food than ANY parent should deem safe.  My family used to get home cooked meals at least 4 – 5 days a week. These days, we eat out WAY too often.  I can’t seem to get the laundry done before it piles up and needs to be done ALL over again. My friends tease that I need a nanny and a housekeeper, but I’m not comfortable having another woman in my house doing the work that I’m supposed to handle.  I know it’s crazy, but as I discussed in my past blog entry “I Don’t Know How She Does It”, I wanted to be just like my Mom. She worked, raised us and took care of everything in the home.  And she was a single parent! I have help and I’m still beyond exhausted most days. But, my desire is to be my family’s hero. I want my husband to beam with pride that I bring home a little bacon and I STILL cook in the bedroom. I want my son to think Mom can leap tall buildings and still make his lunch every day.  The reality is that life just doesn’t work that way.  The good thing is that my husband sees my flaws daily and he still thinks I’m perfect.  And, my son still hangs the moon on all of my words whether he eats McDonald’s or Mama’s meatballs.  I’m learning (and I’m still a work in progress) to let myself off the hook.  As long as there is love in my home, it doesn’t have to look perfect.  As long as my family is healthy and smiling, then my most important job has been done.

So … damn the laundry.  When I can’t get to it, I buy my son new stuff. Is it smart? No. Does it make my life easier? Yes!  Research healthier fast food options or on-the-go meals like they those at Trader Joes and Whole Foods so that you don’t feel so bad that you didn’t hand make the meatballs.  Hire a housekeeper. Even if she only comes once a month, that’s better than nothing at all and certainly, if you’re anything like me, more times than you’ve actually cleaned that month.

Let yourself off the hook.  You don’t have to be THE perfect Mom to be a perfect Mom. Cross my heart. 🙂

dividerHey AskThePRGirl! What are you reading these days? Thanks, NeedAGoodBook*

Dear NeedAGoodBook,

When I have a moment to read, I am ALL ABOUT author Beth Kery’s new series When I’m With You. It’s an eight part romance series and it is hot as all hell. I like my romance and I like it dirty … and NO ONE is more deliciously dirty that my girl @BethKery.  If you like a little kink with your love story, I definitely suggest you try her work.  She is absolutely brilliant and will keep the sizzle in any relationship. I think my husband would kiss her if he could just to say THANKS! 🙂

If you’re looking for something a bit more self-help-ish / “I am woman hear me roar”, I would suggest Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg. My friend @MsRobertsIsThe1 suggested it to me and I can’t wait to dig in.  It’s next up on my Kindle. I have heard of Sandberg’s infamous TEDTalk and I look forward to learning how this “Wonder Woman” addresses women in business and our potential to be true leaders. I’ll be sure to review it on my blog real soon.

That’s all for now folks!  Be sure to submit your questions through DM to @AskThePRGirl or email them to dhaley@haleygroupllc.com.

Love you. Mean it.

P.S. I can’t even begin to describe how amazing this moment is. I just got a chance to be “Dear Abby”. I hope I made her proud 🙂

*Names created by AskThePRGirl to protect the identity of submission

Potty Hell

PottyTraining

Parenthood is teaching me a LOT about myself.  I didn’t know that I would have to juggle so many things at once and yet still feel like nothing has been done.  I didn’t know that I could operate on such a small amount of sleep.  Seriously! Lawmakers rightfully place a lot of focus on drunk drivers.  They should add sleep-deprived parents to the list.  I’ve literally woken up, bathed, bathed the baby, dressed us both, fed us both and arrived at work with no memory of doing ANY of these tasks.  One time I actually sat at my desk to send an email and jolted to reality as I realized I was at work.  I didn’t remember anything about my morning including the commute or dropping the baby at daycare.  I literally called the school in a panic asking if my son was there and then spent the next 10 minutes crying in the bathroom feeling utterly hopeless.  Yeah … parenthood is a beast!  I often tell new Moms that motherhood is like jumping into a cold pool on a summer day.  When you first hit the water, the temperature shocks your system; but, before you know it, you’re splashing around having the time of your life not feeling the cold at all.

Even still, my son has been my greatest accomplishment.  He’s so bright.  It amazes me how much he consumes in a day and literally spits it all back to show how much he’s learned.  He’s a little “me” walking around.  Amazing!  I wish he were a bit more like my husband.  My Hubby Honey is calm, quiet and reserved, while I’m loud, full of life and care-free.  That’s my son all day long.  He is a ball of energy and not simply because he’s three.  The way he talks to people.  The way he regards you if he doesn’t know you.  The way he corrects you when he feels you’re speaking complete nonsense.  The way he gravitates towards music.  His soul.  His … everything.  He’s me.  Through and through.  And while he amazes me, I’m also stumped by him. He has to be the most willful, stubborn little thing I’ve EVER encountered.

Before having our son, I was really only nervous about one thing: potty training.  I’d heard the stories.  I heard how boys are harder and that it’s a test of patience. I’d heard all of the different techniques including reward them with a song or reward them with a small piece of candy.  I’d also been told to put colorful cereal in the toilet and make a game of him hitting it with his urine.  Let him walk around naked because he’ll likely stop before going potty on your floor (TOTALLY not true for our son). I read all of the books and did tons of chatting on parenting sites. I became the most prepared unprepared parent in the history of parenthood.

I delayed it as long as possible because I didn’t want to deal.  I transitioned my son from diapers to pull-ups all the while telling myself that pull-ups were underwear.  Yeah.  They’re not.  They are diapers for kids who are not potty trained and money suckers for parents who refuse to face potty training.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s a genius invention.  Whoever thought of it deserves some sort of Nobel Peace Prize or something.  We weren’t ready to face the responsibility and pull-ups gave us time to get brave.  Everything was “good in the hood” until Noah experienced an extreme growth spurt.  He went from looking like a 2-year-old to looking like a 4-year-old in the matter of weeks.  And it aint cute when your 2-year-old who looks like a 4-year-old squats in middle of a store to take a crap.  Good grief …

So, we broke down and finally began the process of trying to train our son.  We set a timer and would take him every hour on the hour and at least 20 minutes after he would eat or drink.  We literally kept up this process for MONTHS with zero progress.  He would go pee pee if we took him, but refused to indicate that he had to go.  So if I didn’t keep a timer and control of his liquids, he would just pee on himself.  I should note that he was also still wearing pull-ups while we were potty training which I now know vastly slowed the process because he was basically still wearing a diaper.  It was a disaster.

It was such a stressful time in our household.  My Hubby and I don’t fight.  Ever.  But potty training this kid was pushing us to the breaking point.  We were snapping at each other for no good reason.  We weren’t having sex as often and weren’t in agreement about the path to take to get the kid trained.  Every time he peed on himself it was like a slap in the face reminder that we were failing our kid and failing as parents.  It was an emotional drain.  Every parent we encountered would say, “He’s gonna get it eventually.  Hang in there.  It’s a long road, but there is an end.  Don’t give up.  We feel you!”  I wanted to punch them all in the face.  I wanted to scream, “SHUT THE F*** UP!!!  HOW COULD YOU SMILE AT THIS SITUATION WHEN WE ARE LITERALLY FALLING APART??!?”  We were living in hell alone.  It felt like no one understood our pain and frustration.

What hurt the most was the judgment we experienced.  We got it from parents who didn’t have potty training issues, my mother (albeit unintentional, but I still felt it), friends, family and our church!  For example, we drop our son at the nursery at church so that we can actually enjoy the service.  In order for our son to attend the older classroom, he must be potty trained, but since he isn’t he’s still in the nursery. However, he’s really tall and looks like he should be in the older classroom, so EVERY week we’d have to explain the situation.  The worse was when one of the teachers said, “He really should be potty trained by now?! What’s the problem?!”  I wanted to tackle her right there in the vestibule and bash her head against the concrete.  I wanted to scream, “B*tch! Don’t you think I know that?! Don’t you think I want that?! Stay out of my f****** business!”  Instead, I swallowed my shame and hurt and decided not to return until he was potty trained.  Yeah, we haven’t been to church in months.  How sad is that? I’m watching my church service online because I’m sick of being judged about this shameful parenting moment.

I finally got sick of torturing myself and was tired of seeing my husband’s defeated face.  I decided to release it thanks to the loving advice from two people: my cousin Tyrone and my pediatrician Dr. Hassel.  At our son’s 3rd birthday party a few weeks ago, my cousin Tyrone said, “I don’t know any adults that pee and poo on themselves. Take it easy. He’ll get it when he gets it.”  Our pediatrician said, “Your son is excelling in EVERY other developmental area. He spells his name, he’s beginning to read, he speaks clearer than most five-year-olds and he’s incredibly perceptive.  Refusing to potty is the one area where he’s showing he’s still just a baby … and that’s okay.”  Hearing those words finally allowed me to let go of the frustration.  I realized that my son would get it eventually and I didn’t have to feel that his inability to get it TODAY didn’t mean I was failing him as a parent.  It just meant that he needed more practice.  He needed patience.  He needed me not to pressure him like the world was pressuring me.  He needed me to chill the f*** out.  And so I did.

No sooner than I decided to chill out did my baby boy came to me and said, “Mommy, I need to go pee pee … and maybe boo boo.”  He runs upstairs, lifts the seat, goes pee pee, sets the seat down and climbs up to go boo boo.  It was like a miracle.  I think Christ the Mighty King came in the room and said, “It is time, my son. Go. Go potty.”  And he hasn’t looked back.  He tells us every time and he hasn’t had any accidents!  Now, I do bribe him a bit.  If he goes #1, he gets one M&M.  If he goes #2, he gets three M&Ms. If he does both unprompted, he gets three M&Ms and 20 minutes of iPad time.  And it’s working like a charm.  This week I stopped giving him any prize for bathroom time with exception to the potty song we made up and he hasn’t noticed.  He still goes like a champ.  It’s really incredible!

Now, I know pottying (if that’s even a word) is not an extremely interesting or sexy topic, especially for those of you who don’t have children; but, I share it because there are so many things in this world that push us to feel as though we’re failing because we don’t measure up to some invisible standard we are placing upon ourselves.  We forget that this life we are living is a universal human experience and there’s nothing new under the sun.  If you’re experiencing it, it’s a safe bet that so is someone else.  You’re not failing just because you don’t accomplish something at the same rate as other people.  Your will to continue pushing forward is evidence of your success.  You only fail when you quit trying.

Parenthood really is teaching me a lot about myself.  I’m learning that I’m extremely resilient and that I shouldn’t sweat the small stuff … even when the small stuff involves poo.

Love you. Mean It.  ~AskThePRGirl

I Don’t Know How She Does It

i dont know how she does it

Recently I was given an offer I couldn’t refuse: an executive position at an international public relations powerhouse with an impressive salary and a flexible work schedule.  I got the job on my terms, and in my field, that’s saying A LOT.  PR agencies are notorious for long hours, negative political cultures and conveniently void of minority senior talent.  Taking this job was a HUGE step for me.  I’ll explain why in a bit.

I started my own public relations business in 2010 after having my son so that I could make money and be available to my family.  Truth be told, my last agency job was an incredibly negative place that discriminated against mothers and black women.  So, as soon as I had a child, the heat was turned on.  It didn’t matter that I was out performing my peers and managing 4 different accounts with teams in 5 different states.  All that mattered was that I wasn’t blond, I wasn’t playing the game and I didn’t kiss ass.  I understand that corporate jobs require a bit of political finesse in order to make it.  You’ve got to “go along to get along”; but, I have a slight issue with that.  I’m a strong, smart, confident, articulate, assertive businesswoman.  If I were a white male, I’d be a young, hotshot CEO by now.  I’ve got bigger balls than most men and I ain’t afraid to whip ‘em out and smack you in the forehead with them if you get in my way.  I play nice, I play fair, but I play the effing game. Once you step into my court, even if I don’t win, you’re going to know you went to battle with me.  I leave scars.  A friend of mine said, “It’s like having PTSD.  I can still work, but I get the shakes and feel the need for anxiety medication if I think I’m in for another round with you.”  Yeah.  I’m a bad b*tch … but in a good way :-).

So, when my “style” and my dark skin and my kid and my “aggressive” behavior stopped working for my last agency, I struck out on my own.  I really wanted to dedicate myself to my son and I knew that I could pull in some good money by contracting my services.  Even if it wasn’t a lot of money, I’d still be able to contribute to the family.  I’m blessed because my husband’s job covers all of our expenses and our necessities.  My financial contribution to our family has always been our “extra” money like: the savings, vacations, extra curricular activities for Noah, etc.  You can imagine how those things dramatically shift when I don’t have money coming in.  Under Haley Communications, I worked like mad, was able to almost double my salary from my last agency and I did it all on my own.  There’s not a day that I don’t praise God for that blessing.

It’s been such a pride thing to start up my own shop and actually thrive, so when my business took a bit of a hit in 2012, I panicked.  Should I go back to work?  Should I give up the autonomy to do what I want to do with a project rather than trying to appease some idiot manager?  Should I put my son in school full-time rather than have him home with me two days a week?  Can I handle managing my household and working 50 – 60 hour weeks?  Can I?  Should I?

After much prayer, Hubby and I decided that the best thing for our family and me would be for me to return to work.  I still consult for clients with Haley Communications, but this job would give me the reach to whole new markets.  I was excited and scared all at the same time.  It’s not that I didn’t think I could do the job, but I’m responsible for more than just this one role.  I’m also a wife, mother, sister, daughter and best friend.  With those roles comes an awesome amount of responsibility and their own separate job description.  I wondered how I would serve each of those roles adequately without losing my freaking mind.  I literally began to doubt whether I could do it.  Hell, even my friends were giving me a doubtful side-eye glance.

According to the movie I Don’t Know How She Does It (and I imagine this must be true on some level) there’s a study which showed that 64% of women with small children don’t sleep through the night.  Why? Because at night, women all around the world do “the list”.  Here’s my list on any given night:

  • Plan this week’s dinner menu
  • Schedule a dentist appointment for me
  • Schedule a dentist appointment for Bryan
  • Schedule a doctor’s appointment for Noah
  • Finish Start the laundry
  • Fold the load in the dryer
  • Mop the kitchen floor
  • Clean out the cubby in the kitchen
  • Take down the Christmas decorations
  • Buy M&Ms for Noah’s art project
  • Buy pull-ups for Noah
  • Potty train Noah!!
  • Call my dermatologist
  • Order contacts
  • Clean the guest bedroom
  • Vacuum
  • Clean Noah’s toy corner
  • Take clothes to the drycleaner
  • Pick up clothes from the drycleaner
  • Clean the house (bathrooms, living room, kitchen and bedrooms)
  • Call Orkin
  • Get the estimate for the renovations
  • Call the contractor about upcoming projects
  • Schedule time with manager to discuss budget for client X, Y and Z
  • Delegate items A, B and C for client X’s project D
  • Schedule time with partner agencies to discuss ongoing initiatives in 2013
  • Learn client Y’s products
  • Draft content for client Z’s marketing magazine
  • Decide creation direction for client’s marketing materials
  • Draft two blog entries for Client X
  • Call husband and remind to … sigh … just do it yourself
  • Order Noah’s custom birthday party invitations
  • Retrieve kid’s names from school for invites
  • Address / Send birthday invites
  • Plan party menu
  • Research sitter / nanny services
  • Research housekeeping service
  • SEX! Jeez … have sex with husband
  • Wax … everything
  • Make hair appointment
  • Buy tampons
  • Get a manicure / pedicure
  • Schedule Noah’s birthday party and alert family
  • Buy suit for little brother in law school
  • Call BFF to get the download on her personal life/advise/love/release
  • Call to check on little brothers
  • Call mother
  • Call mother-in-law
  • Don’t smoke. Don’t buy cigarettes!!!
  • Go to the gym *inner laughter*
  • Tell Hubby to … ugh … who am I kidding?? Just do it yourself!
  • Noah’s crying … go check on the baby

Seriously.  This is the sh*t that goes through my head on any given night.  Not to mention that at some point in my crazy busy week it all has to get done.  Somehow I have to split myself into 5 or 6 different people to yield maximum results.  So … how does she do it, you ask?  She doesn’t.  Most weeks I achieve a small percentage of the things on my list.  And slowly, but surely, I’m learning not to beat myself up for it.

When I first had my son, it used to tear me apart that I couldn’t do it all.  In my mind, I saw my Mother do far more with far less and all on her own.  She never complained.  She never hinted that it couldn’t be done.  I saw her raise three kids alone with no money and we NEVER went without.  Somehow, she always came through.  With that example in mind, I set out to be the perfect wife and Mom.  I set out to be just like her.  I cleaned my own house, I cooked for my family every night, I served my husband on-demand *smile*, I worked 50 – 60 hour weeks, I nurtured my son and I was dying.  I was literally on the brink of a nervous breakdown.  The thought that I was failing at these tasks was tearing me apart.  I couldn’t fathom hiring someone to help because it felt like an admission that I can’t take care of my family.  I’m not woman enough to be all that I need to be to operate in this role.  The thought shattered me.

And then one day, God spoke through my friend, Julie Gaskin.  We were having one of our random weekly girlfriend lunches and I blurted it all out.  I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I buckled to the pressure.  I ranted about failing Bryan, my inability to be perfect, my lack of confidence and my fear that no matter how hard I try, I can never seem to please everyone or get everything done.  She touched my hand, looked me in the eyes and said, “So what?”  I looked at her in amazement!  What the hell do you mean “so what!?!?”  She said with love, “You do an amazing job as wife and mother.  So what if you can’t clean the house and do all that other sh*t too?!  Hire a housekeeper.  Get a sitter.  Do whatever you need to do to reduce the stress in your life so that you can focus on the stuff that matters.”

I couldn’t take her words in at that moment, but today I totally get it.  Sometimes (like right now) the house is a mess and the Christmas decorations are still up and the baby is sick and the laundry is waiting. Sometimes you have to give your husband a quick noonday love session rather than an all night, Beyonce “Dance For You” fantasy fest.  Sometimes you need to sleep in rather than go to church (yeah … I said it).  Sometimes, you get to be imperfect.  And it’s okay.  You juggle, prioritize, and more importantly, you let yourself off the hook!  I realized that the only person putting pressure on me … was me!   I’m learning to give myself a break.  No more browbeating.  No more feelings of failure.  It’s time to celebrate the things I can accomplish in a week and praise God for the time given to complete the rest at another time.

As long as your family is feeling loved and your house hasn’t burned to the ground and the car is still running and the phone is still working and God blesses you with another day to check off a few things on that ridiculous list, count yourself lucky.  Life will be a crazy, unorganized mess, but it’s your mess.  And somehow, someway you’ll find a way through it.  Just like me.  Trust me. You’re not a failure simply because you’re not a magician.

God bless every working Mother out there.  And remember, while you’re busy wondering how to get it all done, everyone else is looking at you thinking, “I don’t know how she does it.”

All the best, AskThePRGirl