Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ichiro May Be a Yankee, But the Sun Still Shines in Seattle

Yesterday my husband approached me in the kitchen with a look of shock on his face. He  looked down at his phone and back up at me. After a moment he sputtered- “Do you want to hear some crazy news?”

I drew a sharp breath in- “What is it?!”

“You won’t believe it!” His head shaking side-to-side in dismay. The tension was mounting. Nails were being bitten. He took one final pause for a dramatic climax before lowering the boom- “Ichiro was traded to the Yankees.”

Deadpan expression. Hmm.

Should I fake surprise? Conjure up some bewilderment? Squirt some tears? It was sad, after all, truly it was. (Besides the Ichiroll at Safeco is delicious and I just don’t think it will taste the same if its called the Hernandez roll. )

I wondered, did this mean anything to me? And if so, does it mean anything for the average woman who loves baseball for the garlic fries? As I waited for some kind of emotional response a message began pounding out a rhythm in my heart. The response I was having didn’t have anything to do with the nature of the Ichiro trade- it had everything to do with the address.

What I realized is that David and Goliath were at it again. It was one of those moments that makes you wonder if the underdog will always be- well, under.

I don’t care where Ichiro plays. Ichiro deserves to finish his career wherever he wants. He put in a good 12 seasons ( don’t quote me die-hards), so he deserves to win a few games. So Suzuki aside, here is where I get on my Moneyball soapbox.

The New York Yankees are to baseball what a spoiled little rich girl is to her pony- excessive. I am not one of those crazy sports fans that paint themselves blue on a balmy 46 degree day, (I preserve my paint for Pinterest crafts) but I can draw a chalk line between success and superfluousness.

We live in a nation where we are always told we need to be wherever we aren’t. That we never have enough. That the grass isn’t green enough- so go look for neon knolls.

To me, The Yankees are a metaphor for America’s gluttonous nature and the danger or being a discontent woman. Its hard not to notice that some of “The Yankees” in our life, (a.k.a the Evil Empire) have great successes. And when this happens it is difficult to deal with these type of successes gracefully.

Rule of thumb, don’t look at what they have in lieu of what you don’t. Look at what they have as something you can aspire to.

To go further down the rabbit hole of  living well, let’s try to focus on being quick to forgive instead of holding a grudge. Let’s pick up the check instead of looking for a free meal. Let’s give our kids hope instead of instilling in them fear of being a failure. Don’t be afraid to cheer from the stands instead of trying to be center-stage every now and then.

Whether you are a small business owner, an employee, a stay-at-home mother, or a student looking to land your dream job- it is a mistake to get tangled up in the dollars and cents solely for the prestige. Yes, we all need to look for the best deal to further our dreams- but sometimes you have to take the smaller paycheck to find the bigger purpose.

This isn’t about Ichiro, obviously. It is about learning to be happy right where we are.

We are not major league baseball players, so we can’t understand the indubitable pull of playing for the Yankees. But what we can understand is the shiny allure of someplace or something that will make us feel like we have arrived. The truth? No matter where you live, what you do, who pays you, or what that amount is- contentment is a choice.

Maybe you’ve recently lost your spot on the roster because someone out-pitched you or threw you a nasty curve-ball. Or maybe you are looking to turn in your number for a bigger spot on the field of life. No matter where you find yourself, keep your eye on the ball. Someday your pitch will come. (I bat .400 when it comes to baseball cliches.)

Oh, and in the meantime order the Ichiroll. I have a feeling it won’t be here long.

Image courtesy  of The New York Daily News
Article courtesy of Girl Power Hour 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Why Parenting Advice is Like Trying to Solve World Hunger With a Single Spoon

This blog is courtesy of Project Motherhood NYC 

I often wonder who I am, now that I am a mother.

Believe me,  if I could gaze at my navel and drink Rooibos tea in yoga pants all day I could come up with a very poetic way to explain the changes that motherhood has made in me. But instead, I have a 20-month old son who I swear drinks Red Bull when I am not looking. (How could anyone have that much energy on a strict bean and pea diet? He is a vegetarian Tasmanian devil I have decided.)

But seriously, who is this woman I see changing diapers at NASCAR speed, licking her finger to wipe a stray smear of jam from her son’s eyebrow, and giving up a girls night on the town to climb into bed by 9pm? Oh, well that’s me. And if you have young kids, I think that’s a part of you too.

My son loves the book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It’s kind of a staple in all young children’s reading repertoire- right? His favorite page, (aside from pretending to be eating all of the fruit and junk food in the middle), is the end when the big fat caterpillar becomes a beautiful butterfly. He squeals and tries to take the book out of my hands so he can get a REALLY good look; (i.e.- smashes his face into the crease of the book in fits of laughter).

I think that’s my favorite part of the book as well, because its my favorite part of motherhood too. We get to go from these large “with child” versions of ourselves to these almost unrecognizable sacrifice-savvy supermoms. The term supermom is so overused- but all moms have an element of the supernatural. Because the super-power to love someone more than ourselves is the greatest of all.

I will be the first to say it doesn’t come easy all the time. In fact, I constantly think I am doing something wrong when my nearly-two toddler throws a tantrum over a broken straw in the checkout line (he is obsessed over straws, who knew?) or he isn’t speaking enough words to constitute as an average kid his age. All of these standardized milestones, check-ups and timelines are enough to tire any mom out who is just trying to keep it together; who is just trying to follow her gut, and love like only she can.

When Allison asked me to guest blog for Project Motherhood, my self-help author “hat” wanted to go on.
I thought, I should compile a list of ways to discipline in love. Or maybe I should write about how to get your kid to sleep through the night, or maybe I should just be honest about how much I love watching cartoons now without having to make excuses for it. Tangled- I heart thee.
We don’t know each others landscape of life. We can’t possibly believe that all children are innately the same. They all have different gifts, different struggles, different developmental delays and excellencies. They grow at different rates, become dependent at different timelines, and emerge as little people with their own personalities just as we are still trying to figure out who we are as adults.

However, I will say this. Don’t compare. Stop reading articles on how your kid should be, and start paying attention to who he or she is. Children need fans in the stands. So when you are having a tough day or simply aren’t sure if this whole motherhood thing fits you right, just remember who you are- you are their mom.

And that is enough to make me certain that I am just who I need to be- and so are you.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Temper Tantrums & Time Outs Aren’t Just For Toddlers

Wherever you are on the mommy map-  it doesn’t matter. I have realized that whether you have kiddos or not- we are all still little two-year old’s inside.

We get frustrated when life doesn’t go our way. We throw temper tantrums on the freeway during rush hour. And we all  need a time-out with a glass of wine to regain sanity some days.

In recent years, its become very clear to me that if you don’t give your passions some love they will materialize into tantrums with whomever you share life with. If you don’t take a time-out in order to gather with like-minded women, isolation and depression isn’t far behind.

I still consider myself  a new mother. Much like many other women in the GPH social-stratosphere, I have found myself the ringleader in a very delicate balancing act. I want to be an amazing mother. I also want to be a successful small business owner and freelance writer. For many of the women that I have spoken with at various GPH events, we are embarking on this new era of life unsure of how to make it all work. Or even if we should try.

How do we pencil in another activity on the calendar when all we want to do is eat a dozen York peppermint patties and pass out on the couch? OK, so maybe that’s just me. But getting glam, sipping martinis, happy hour, networking, and high heels- all of sudden these items can easily become antiques in the museum of our former lives.

The truth is that a night out for ourselves is so very important. And Girl Power Hour isn’t some crowded bar with drunk sorority girls and overconfident men. It’s a “girls only club” that helps us get back in touch with the dreams we had before our little ones were scampering into our beds after their bad ones.

For me, I realized that becoming a mother didn’t change who I was. In fact, it held up a mirror to those places in my life where I was most passionate and magnified them.  Instead of wanting to be a writer someday, I started doing it. There is no time like the present to make yourself a priority. Your kids will benefit from the joy you derive from using your God given talents.

Here are a few questions to ask the next time you are considering putting yourself on the back burner again:

1. Who will benefit from time with me if I am burnt out?
2. Am I being short with my husband, significant other, children without cause?
3. When was the last time I did something just for me?
4. What makes me feel alive and when was the last time I did that?
5. How much time have I spent with women this month- without kids?

Motherhood isn’t losing yourself- its a chance to show your little ones how to find their meaning. I know firsthand how tiring it can be when your are trying to raise a child and trying to hold on to your dreams- but they won’t be little forever and your dreams shouldn’t stay small either. Its important to be able to look back on life and say- I was there for my kids when they needed me and I was there for myself when it seemed no one else was.

See you at the next GPH event ladies! Take a time-out for you.

Summer Social on the Sea Yacht Party