On Mothering

I do not really think about the idea of feeling mothered too often. Until a few weeks ago. I met a woman who calmed me. It was not anything she really did, but I wondered if the vibe she gave off was one of a “mother.” Random I know. This woman is slightly irrelevant to this post as I may never see her again, but the hour I spent with her began a chain of events in my thoughts over the course of the next few days. Mothers. Mothering. Lack of a mom. My mom passed away 20 years ago. I have lived more of my life without my mom then I did with her.

Yes there have always been individuals in my life that have “mothered” me in different ways. I have tears in my eyes as I remember the ones that had a lasting effect on me. And, while many of those that mothered me are not deeply present in my life today, they are still in some ways always present with me. I saw how they mothered their own children, how they loved me, or how they taught me to love. It is interesting for me to look back over those 20 years of the diverse mothering in my life.

Jump to today. I am a bit of a hard-core person. I go all into a project. Usually it is hard for me to stop until I am done. You know you can count on me, trust me, and that I will not let you down. But with being hard-core there is an intensity that I exude that sometimes is well: intense. This woman a few weeks ago calmed me for that hour. I have no idea why. I have no idea if I would like her, or if she would continue to have that effect on me. It makes me wonder about all my friends, family, and co-workers who have lost parents, siblings, friends, co-workers in their life. How do they continue to feel fathered, mothered, taken care of? Why did this women calm me?

Is it that I need more mothering in my life? Do I need to let go a bit and allow myself to be mothered? I guess it depends on what our definition of mothering truly is. Sometimes I think it is knowing that I could pick up the phone and cry, share of my day, or ask for advice. Other times it is to tell me that everything is going to be okay, or to tell me how proud she is of me. Whatever the definition, I imagine a good amount of us could use a bit more mothering in our life.

Charlie’s First Birthday

I can hardly believe that a year has gone by since my niece was born. I am an addicted aunt. She was walking around nine months, already knows how to clap, blow kisses, and is the silliest of kids (most likely thanks to her fun daddy). If only we lived closer.

To Charlie: “We would come and play with you, and take out your favorite red car (stroller), so you can babble and wave to everyone you pass. We would play the synthesizer together, and build with blocks, and make sure there are fun rides on your new cow (toy). Aunt Tami would be loud and make lots of noise to get you to laugh, and Uncle Chris would be the mellow man that he is and sit and play with you (quietly, unlike Aunt Tami).

You have a heart filled with so much love. I know it after hearing the stories about how you hug other kids and do not want to let go. You are so loved — we can tell from your day care pictures of all the kids surrounding you and calling you Char Char. Never a dull moment in your life. You love your cats, and mommy’s iPad and iPhone. Last but not least you are a sassy little one, just like your Aunt. We could never ask for anything more.

Happy 1st Birthday Charlie!”

Here are a few of my favorite photos of the year. You can see how much she has grown. Charlie, cannot wait to see what your next year will bring!

Own Your Shit

I found a print over the weekend via the fabulous, Elizabeth Gilbert that sums up what I think about a lot of things. It says: “Own your Shit.” I could never frame it and put it on the wall, as it has a bird on it, and I am not a fan of birds. I like the print because it says what I constantly have running through my head. To me “Own your Shit” means bring yourself 100% to your job, relationship, family, wherever in your life. Know who is counting on you, know what is expected of you, and bring it.

I struggle a lot with others that do not take accountability for their actions. If you say you are going to do something do it. Follow through. Think about the individual on the receiving end of what you need to do. Does your not following through leave them hanging? Does it make them look bad? Does it tell them you do not care?

When you drop the ball, own it. Put yourself out there and communicate that you did not own your shit. Let others know. You own it when you are transparent about when you did not come through. It gives you more credibility. When you do not own your shit, you can lose all credibility.

Whatever story you are telling yourself for why your life is more important, or what you need to do is more important than honoring your commitments, it is bullshit. Do what is your responsibility to do. Do not expect someone else to do it for you. Do not take the easy way out. Own it. Know it. Be it.

My new mantra: Own your shit.

When you feel heard, you trust…

I have been thinking a lot in the last week about awareness. Being aware. Watching. Being present. After a few day training session at work, I realized how much more I could be aware of my surroundings, my actions, and how I approach situations. Last Friday I specifically practiced awareness, and while yes I was only in day one, I had a very good day. It could have also been because the sun was out, which means that those I was around were in a great mood. Sunshine in Portland in February does that to folks.

Regardless, I focused on listening in each conversation. I stopped, slowed down, and was aware and I enjoyed the day so much more. Sometimes that means I am more focused in my listening, other times it means I quiet my mind and do not say all the things that are happening within it. I am an extremely direct and transparent person, but I am learning that does not mean that I have to say everything that comes to mind. Part of being aware is listening to see if the person you are interacting with needs to talk and share from their own minds.

As I learned last week, awareness takes practice. Just as an Olympic athlete must train every day, so must each of us as we continue to be better and better, or as we continue to learn how to be our best. All we can do is try again each day. Try to be more aware, more present, and listen more. I love a line from this Fast Company article titled: “How One Simple Change Can Make You A Better Listener.”

“When people feel as though they have been heard, they trust you more.”

As well as:

“Ultimately, the ability to extract what people mean from a conversation is one of the most important tools of any leader. It takes a lot of work. And it requires curbing your natural tendency to jump right to a solution to people’s problems.”

I have a lot of work to do. I need to resist my constant urge to find a solution to problems, and start by listening first. Here is hoping I can keep up with my awareness this week. Listen more. Be more aware. Are you with me?

Do not read this post.

Last week I received this email from a local jewelry boutique. The subject line caught my eye. It said: “Do not read this email.” So of course I wanted to read the email. I opened it, and this is what it said:

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You’re a busy person, so we took the liberty to write a note from you to someone who kinda likes you.  We just need you to forward it…

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Hey babe,

So Feb. 14th is Saturday, and although I’ve found several uses for the heart-shaped can opener you gave me last year, I figured I’d give you a little more direction this year. Plus, I know I can be hard to buy for, so save the mind reading for next time I’m pouting and you ask me ‘what’s wrong?’ & I say ‘nothing.’

betsy & iya is my absolute favorite. It’s like if that quarterback you love and craft beer had a baby and that baby made jewelry. You get it? So do me a favor and go there for my gift this year. They’ll help you if you need it, and they’ll even wrap whatever you choose all nice for me. Pretty much you have one job, and that’s to get your fine self there.

You can’t fail at this, I promise. I mean, how sexy would these be on me? In that one dress, right? And I get weak in the knees just thinking about wearing this. Ugh, ok, gotta get back to work now. You’re welcome for the help ;-).

xo hugs xo,
Me

Clever email. It inspires me to try to come up with more creative ideas for work and in my life. We all have it in us, sometimes we just need to dig deeper. The email is a great tactic, and I wonder if anyone actually forwarded it on to their significant other before Valentine’s Day. Either because they thought it was a good email, or if they pretended they wrote it. Even if they did forward it on as a joke, I am sure they still put an idea in someone’s head. Share the clever and be inspired by it.