A salty momma, manager, editor

It has been a while since I have put my fingers to the keyboard in a way that was not a means to the end. There is not enough time in the day to allow my mind to slow down and ponder life, to let the mantra in my head release and allow the clickity clack of the keys bring forth the words in my mind to share with you. There have been many days when I have written a blog in my head and when the few free moments at the end of the day graced me, my eyes melded shut while the now comfortable whoosh whoosh sound of the pump surrounds me as I drain the last milk of the day out of my boobs. That or I am finishing the necessary work to prep for my next day, because when I get home at the end of the day I want to spend every moment with my growing little boy. Did I mention that I am back in the office?

I will tell you I have missed you. I have missed my daily rants and release of ideas that I come across in the day in hopes that it brings a smile to your face, pause to your day, or a WTF moment. Last week a colleague shared an article that just got my wheels turning and I had to share. This article is about the saltbox. A bit random I know but the author just hit at so many ideas that resonate with me. Her story of the Saltbox titled: “Lessons according to salt.”

“The saltbox itself as an object is unremarkable. Alone, it communicates nothing. Says nothing about its role. Its intention. Its history as a gift born out of a romance between my maternal grandparents. Says nothing of its possibilities.

But add people, and it becomes a central iterative device. The license to change, to iterate, to test, to add, to make, to make over, to create (clearly, with food). It gives license and latitude to stray from what has been written (recipes) for those too shy to do. Therefore, it gives strength. It gives iterative powers to those not comfortable with version control. With its subtlety comes comfort in change. One might say the saltbox, and access to it, is magic.”

Later the author says:

“What separates a leader from a manager is the quality of an editor. The role of a good editor is not to be seen, in fact, but to make an author’s words come forward. A good editor dissolves into the background. It’s not unlike typography. Focus too much on the type, and you’ve lost the story. Whether as editor, director, or head of department, my role is not to be seen, but to create a space to make the stories of those I work with come forward.”

I manage a team of ten amazing souls that make it worth coming to work each day. Is it always fun? No. Is it always easy? No. But damn we have fun trying. I hope that I keep focusing on the story and that I create a space to make the stories come forward.

Maybe it resonates with me because I write, or maybe it is because I am a new mom and I think that, much like leading a team, as a momma I really am here to love the crap out of this little bugger, but also to create the space for his stories to come to life. My role is to let him shine and be seen. Momma, manager, editor.

I encourage you to read Liz’s full article on the saltbox. Maybe it will inspire you too.

Yes.

We all have things we want to change in life. It is why so many individuals decide to make New Year’s resolutions. Sometimes that means that some need to add more adventures in their lives, and others might need to cut back to make room for space in their lives.

Last week I finished reading: “Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person” by Shonda Rhimes. At first I did not want to read it. While I watch all of Rhimes television shows, I do not know much about her as a person, and sometimes books that come from the Hollywood bore me. I was happily surprised. Shonda Rhimes is a badass.

She talks you through her experience from no shows to having 3 shows on Thursday night at once and what it is like to be so successful, have a family, and be a black woman in Hollywood. And yet, want to hide from it all. Year of Yes is her year to start saying yes to life, yes to what comes her way, and quit hiding from the world. We could all probably use a bit of “yes” in our life. On discussing the 100 pounds she lost (from saying yes to how she approached food):

“Did I not just say it was never going to be easy? Never going to be quick, would there be anyone left out there who talked about struggling with their weight? Now, I’m betting all of these big-time programs you see advertised and recommended by your doctor work. But only if you decide that YOU are going to do the work to make the programs work. Meaning, nothing works if you don’t actually decide that you are really and truly ready to do it.” Page 157

The key is “decide that you are really and truly ready to do it.” Applicable to so many decisions in life. Making the choice to really be in your marriage, to be the parent you want to be, to give your job your all, to stay fit and healthy. Decide to do it. It is that easy. Yes.

Fostering Dependence vs. Independence

I have not read the book, but I am fascinated by the concept. How often do we baby our kids? How do strategically set them up for success?

A friend shared this article: “If Your Kid Left His Term Paper at Home, Don’t Bring It to Him” and it hit home. The article refers to the book: The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed by Jessica Lahey. I have added it to my reading list. Of course I have yet to birth this baby, but that does not mean I do not think about how we want to raise him and how dependence can happen so early, and often without parents really knowing it is happening. The author mentions parents who go back home because the kid forgot their homework assignment or lacrosse stick — teaching kids what?

“Over-parenting or fostering dependence, as she describes bailout behavior, has the potential to undermine children’s personal confidence and robs them of the grit they’ll need to succeed in the real world, after they’ve left the safe bubble of home.”

I will tell you, I never remember my parents bringing something I forgot to school. They were at work, at one point in elementary school my mom was teaching at my very school. She was not going to leave to bring something I forgot. As my dad would have told me: “Tough luck.” He was not going to go out of his way to take care of things that were mine to remember. That was my responsibility. He never thought of it as “letting me fail.” He just knew I would learn the hard way to remember — whatever the consequences of my choices.

Food for thought.

“Our energy follows our attention”

Being 37.5 weeks pregnant means I am not as mobile as I used to be — which means I am reading a bit more on the weekends. Since I have not gone for a run in 3 months (so hard for me) – it meant my reading had slowed down. We have filled our days and nights with planning and prepping for this baby boy to join us, but these last few weekends I have been reading more.

A recent book I finished, was “The Book of Doing and Being: Rediscovering Creativity in Life, Love, and Work” by Barnet Bain. It was filled with lots of exercises, which often bore me and I skip because I am not interested. In any case, I thought this demonstration Bain shares was fascinating. I tried it and had Chris try it with the same result:

“First, we need to understand the power of conditioning. The following demonstration will make the point.

Right now, wherever you are sitting, lift your right foot a few inches off the ground and then start moving it in a clockwise circle. At the same time as you’re doing that, raise your right hand and draw a number six in the air.

What happened? Your right foot switched directions, didn’t it? Try it again. The reversal will happen every time!” page 4

Frustrated? Did it happen for you or were you able to get past it? It got me interested enough to keep reading (even though I skipped a lot of exercises). The real nugget I wanted to share was:

“Our energy follows our attention, always.” Page 69

It is true is it not? What we focus on we absorb. What we absorb, we ingest. What we ingest impacts our energy, our mood, our body language, and often what comes out of our mouth. Chris and I often talk about the energy we allow into our home. I think about it at work and with friends. We have a choice on what we focus on, what we attend to, and if we redirect — we might actually have a happier and more “energetic” life.

What do you think?

Motherless

Sometimes you read a book or an idea in a book and you feel that the author has taken the words out of your head, put them on paper, and made sense of the gibberish of your thoughts. Recently I blogged about the book: “Brave Enough” by Cheryl Strayed. While it is a book of quotes, there are a few sections where she goes deep into her past. It is as though she took the words out of my mouth (much more eloquent than I would have shared).

“It was wrong. It was so relentlessly awful that my mother had been taken from me. I couldn’t even hate her properly. I didn’t get to grow up and pull away from her and bitch about her with my friends and confront her about the things I wished she’d done differently and then get older and understand that she did the best she could and realize that what she did was pretty damn good and take her fully back into my arms again. Her death had obliterated that. It had obliterated me. It had cut me short at the very height of my youthful arrogance. It had forced me to instantly grow up and forgive her every motherly fault at the same time that it kept me forever a child, my life both ended and begun in that premature place where we’d left off. She was my mother, but I was motherless. I was trapped by her but utterly alone. She would always be the empty bowl that no one could fill. I’d have to fill it myself again and again and again.” Page 68

I do not know whether I ever took the time to forgive my mom for her every motherly fault, I think I just moved on and did not wallow in that — there was enough pain to go around. It did force me to grow up fast (even before she died) and has meant that I am forever trying to bring back the childlike time. My relentlessness, extreme dedication, and persistence has meant that I sometimes have a hard time taking a step back to “play.”

It means I will hold you further away from my core until I can determine if you are going to go deep or stay on the surface. If you stay on the surface, I am not going to waste my time. If we meet in the middle and find that common ground — well the rest it history in the making. My mother leaving me at such an early age means that I will only fill that empty bowl with fruit worth my time, and make sure I constantly remove the rotten versions. I do not want to have to fill it again and again. Instead, I would rather fill it with the best of the best and not waste my time with anything else.