Judge me all you want

Change happens for us all every day. We do not always realize how much change hits us on a day-to-day basis, often because of how we handle the change. At some level we all have a bit of dislike to change. Some individuals are more flexible than others, some are more set in their ways or routines, and yet others relish the freedom and excitement of having things constantly changing in life.

Whatever level of tolerance we have for change, we often do not have a choice of if it happens to us. Whether that means changes at work, at home, with our family, there is change that happens by choice and change that we would rather not come close to with a ten foot pole. These past few weeks for me have been emotional to one extent (thank you hormones) and a little nerve-racking on another level. I know I am not the first woman to have a baby, and I know (because everyone tells you) that my life is about to change in numerous ways. Some of those changes will be amazing, and some will knock me on my ass.

I have to say that what has been hardest (besides my body no longer being mine, the endless peeing, and little to no sleep because of the endless peeing) has been being a professional woman with a team. When you read about others that go on maternity leave, they talk about the baby side of it, but what they do not really talk often about is what it is like for the working mom. I have been working since I was 9 years old. I had a paper route, and babysat kids in the neighborhood. This means that I have been working non-stop for the last 28 years. The most time I have taken off (other than a period when I was laid off), is the two weeks I took for my wedding/honeymoon. I have never not worked for a longer period than that.

Now, judge me all you want, as I think some mothers might — when I say it is going to be hard for me to be away from work. There are some pretty involved and intense projects happening in the coming months and, while I have the most amazing team, it does not make it easy for me to be away from it all. I have poured my heart into the work and my team, and having a child does not necessarily change my dedication to my work. Sure, some of my priorities will change when I meet Mini Conk, but I also want to raise a son that not only understands the importance of hard work, but also sees that I have an identity that is different from just being a mom.

Folks rarely talk about how hard it is for a working mom, instead I see more judgement that my place as a mom is at home with my son. Why should I have to choose, and why should I be judged for how I want to live my life? As more and more women have leadership positions at companies, not only do the rights for women having children need to change, so does the behavior for how we treat women that work and want to do both.

Just get ‘er done

I am a get-shit-done-now kind of woman. I blogged recently about how it is hard for me to sometimes be artistic and creative (which I love doing) if there is not order in my home and my mind. I have to clear out the clutter, organize, and make space for new ideas to grow and flourish. In the coming weeks, Chris and I have a list of home projects and tasks to embark on. One is to make space in a few closets and find ways to build shelves within the closets to truly maximize the space. Not the most fun project in the world, but I have a hunch that as we do it, and we truly go through the items stacked away we will find that purging and organizing will be therapeutic.

Which is why I loved this idea from a recent Daily Om:

“Most of us have had the experience of tackling some dreaded task only to come out the other side feeling invigorated, filled with a new sense of confidence and strength. The funny thing is, most of the time when we do them, we come out on the other side changed and often wondering what we were so worried about or why it took us so long. We may even begin to look for other tasks we’ve been avoiding so that we can feel that same heady mix of excitement and completion.”

Not that cleaning out a closet is a daunting task, my point is more that sometimes when we talk about something we need to just shut up and do it. And, stop talking about it! Your list itself might be painful to look at because you think: “How am I ever going to do all this?” Instead of wallowing in all you have to do, just get started.

Maybe your dreaded task is actually a conversation. It might be one you have tried to have many times before with that person and you never truly get out what you want to get across. Or, maybe you have had the conversation multiple times, but the other person does not get it. You dread it, but know that being transparent, open, and direct with your thoughts and feedback allows you to get it off your chest leaving you feeling free and stronger.

Whatever the project, my hope is that you start, work through it, get ‘er done, and move on. You will feel lighter. You will.

First day of…

The first day of school. It always had a degree of dread and a degree of excitement. What was my teacher going to be like? What would it be like to see and reconnect with different friends? How had people changed over the summer? How would we all fit together in this new year and new adventure?

The first day of school is very much like the first day of a new job. You may have no idea what your world is going to be like. While the job might be similar to your last role, the people, the leadership, and the team dynamics can make your day-to-day light years different. It is good for us to have these moments of change, newness and growth. That does not mean, however, that it is easy or that being the newbie comes naturally to any of us.

Just like the first day of school is like the first day of a new job, the bullying and politics that happen in school happen in the professional world. Individuals have agendas, sometimes you get picked first and sometimes you get picked last. There is competition, and sometimes that means that those you thought had your back, really do not. The only difference between school and a job, is being a kid and being an adult. Somehow we are all learning more about ourselves. What we are willing to stand up for and what makes us keep our mouth shut.

Since the school year is about to start, what are you going to do differently? Just because you might be in the same job for the last year or years does not mean you have to be stuck in a rut. Think of August as your new year. Who are you going to befriend or be less afraid of? Who are you going to stand up to? Get out your Trapper Keeper and start doodling. Come up with three ways you are going to change. Mine are:

_Listen more, talk less

_Appreciate more

_Slow down

What will yours be? Trapper Keeper, iPad, or old-school typewriter… make a note and decide: What are you going to stand for?

What excites you?

What excites you? What makes your lips turn into a huge smile, gives you excited flutters in your tummy, or makes you jump up and down with glee?

I remember a few years ago receiving a check in the middle of the year from the Oregon Department of Revenue. It was a good year for them and they made the decision to send refund checks for the amount they were in excess that year. When I opened the envelope and looked inside I started jumping up and down and yelling for Chris to come see. You might think based on that story that I get excited about money, and that was not the case, I was excited about the surprise of it. It was like winning a mini unexpected lottery. Who would not jump up and down?

What excites you might be the smallest thing. A few weeks ago, I was excited when I found a successful answer to a work project. It was a simple answer of switching the formula I was working on. I squealed out: “I did it!” Other times it might be a long weekend break where you are able to relax, sleep, and catch up on your life. Maybe it is hiking that mountain, crossing that finish line, or watching your child take their first step.

Whatever it is, your excitement is unique to you. The important thing is that you make sure there is excitement in your life. There needs to be days that you look within, assess, and jump for joy, whether in the large or small moments. I think I love roller coasters. I say “think” because it has been ten years since I have been to an amusement park. I am not sure I know what it is like anymore. If I am anything like my past ten years ago self, then I love the thrill of a fast-moving roller coaster. It is on my list to go to a roller coaster this year and see if they still excite me. What are you going to do this year that you have not done for a while, or ever before that excites you?

What excites you today?