Viewing category ‘Your life’


3 things I wish I learned a lot earlier that help me stress less

Categories: Balancing Act, Parenting & Family, Your life


My kiddo is eight years old (OMG, my kiddo is EIGHT YEARS OLD!!!) and you’d think by this point I’d have this working mom routine down cold, right? No such thing, as it turns out — with every stage there are new challenges, new discoveries, new awesome moments, and yes, new things I learn that I wish someone got through my stubborn head earlier.

Here are three recent discoveries which are helping make my crazy busy life a little less so:

  • Ask your kids for help. OK, so this advice is hard to take if your kiddo is still a baby, but I think it definitely applies to toddlers and older. Here is one example of what I mean: Cooking. I cook a lot and it’s one of the household chores that takes a bunch of my time. I used to do all the cooking at night, after my daughter went to sleep (a few times a week, so that there would be fresh dinner for next day or two). I tried to optimize the time with her for stuff like reading or playing or doing some art together. Recently I’ve started to get her involved in the cooking and it’s a life changer on so many levels. She actually has fun and is learning about food and cooking, which I think is really important longer term. I get a helper and a companion (she is getting pretty good at peeling carrots!) We do something together and create something together, which is awesome. And I don’t need to stay up til all hours at night cooking. Serious win-win and I highly recommend that you find something in your busy life your kids could help you with.
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Do you ever stop moving?

Categories: Balancing Act, Your life


Earlier today we went on a picnic with some friends of ours. The sun was shining, it was finally warm like May warm should be, and we were sitting in a beautiful park with enough food, wine and conversation to keep us happy for hours. Our daughters are all similar in age which made for lots of fun giggling and running around, giving us some much needed time to catch up with our friends. It was awesome (and I’m proud to say that my phone stayed in my bag most of the time.)

When we got home my husband told me that this was the first time, in a very long time, that he saw me sitting down anywhere for more than a few minutes (long car rides excluded.) He told me that he looked over at me sitting on the grass next to my friend and it struck him that he almost never sees me sitting still.

You know what? He is absolutely right. If you exclude the times when I am working at my computer or sitting in the car, I can’t say I sit very much. Of course I sit down to eat but I wouldn’t count that as sitting still. I think what he meant is sitting still like you would if you were watching TV or reading or just chillaxing.
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My Mother’s Day wishlist has only one thing on it

Categories: Your life


And here it is:

I want to feel like an awesome mom.

For this Mother’s Day, my kiddo and husband are plotting something and I think they are planning to make me breakfast. I will love that, not the least because I do 99% of the cooking at home and I do gripe about how nice it would be to be served some food. We are also doing a dinner together with all the grandmas and it’s one of my favorite meals we have as a family — I love celebrating all the moms.

But what I really really want is to feel like I am a rockin mom and that’s something that I need to feel from the inside. My biggest struggle as a working mom is that I constantly feel like I’m not doing a great job: as a mom, at work, as a wife, friend, daughter. Last night stuff at work was blowing up and I needed to answer some emails while helping kiddo do homework and practice piano. I could see her looking over at me and I hated that I was on my phone, but at the time that was what I needed to do. But you can bet I didn’t go to bed feeling like an awesome mom. (Of course I know she will be OK and we will make up the time together and life is life and not perfect. But it doesn’t make it easier.)
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My work-life juggle casualty: Time with friends

Categories: Balancing Act, Your life


If I think about things that make me truly happy, spending time with friends is right near the top of the list. And yet, it’s one of the things that consistently gets squeezed out of the otherwise insane work-family-stuff-I-have-to-do schedule. Every time I catch up with a friend I reminder myself to make that a priority, and yet, it’s still a challenge.

All of my friends have busy lives of their own so it’s understandable that it’s tough to align two (or more) schedules and find time to hang out together. It’s definitely not for lack of trying: I have strings of text messages and emails with friends where we’re attempting to get together only to be derailed by a work meeting, almost-forgotten playdate, a business trip, or something else. Still, this doesn’t help the fact that I love spending time with friends and I have too little of it to spend with them.

Thinking about it, I realized there were a few somewhat creative things I’ve done recently to make more time:

  • Joint errand running. OK, so this is much less fun than say getting dinner at one of our favorite places, but a friend and I recently spent a few hours running errands together. We stopped for some frozen yogurt in between and had time to catch up walking around and in the car.
  • Post-bedtime quick drink. Going out to dinner at 9pm on a weeknight is a no-go, but my friend and I recently decided to go grab a quick drink after we put our kids to bed (with both of our husbands staying home with the kiddos). It was just an hour or so but completely worth it.
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On doing less (at least sometimes)

Categories: Balancing Act, Your life


I had really ambitious plans for tonight:

Get home from work (around 6pm).

Do homework with kiddo.

Practice piano with kiddo.

Bedtime stuff and then read a chapter of Harry Potter with kiddo (we just started the first book).

Make dinner for tomorrow night.

Call mom.

Catch up on work stuff.

Get stuff organized for tomorrow.

Write this blog post.

Do yoga.

Read (currently making my way through the Steve Jobs biography, although very slowly).

Get to bed by 10pm.

Ha! I hope you’re laughing because seeing all my plans written out here makes me laugh with the realization that I was kidding myself thinking I can do all that and get to bed by 10pm (an epically early time for me, mind you.)

I’m terrible about making insanely unrealistic to-do lists. In fact, as I started writing this post I glanced at my to-do list sitting next to me and it’s not a list that I could have possibly accomplished in one day. Yet when I wrote it this morning that’s what I was aiming to do. And the downside is that now I feel like I failed when in fact, I wasn’t going to ever succeed in the first place.

I know we hear this advice all the time but I’m going to repeat it again and try to listen myself this time:
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Small things you can do to feel happier in 30 seconds

Categories: Balancing Act, Your life


I am writing this on the plane, on my way back from a week-long business trip. I’m exhausted and it’s been a long week. I hate being away for this long and I also hate coming back feeling down and grumpy from all the travel/work stuff. My fam is psyched to see me and I’m dying to see them (and it’s movie night - no one should be grumpy on movie night!) So I’m determined to do something about this, to lift the business trip exhaustion fog and feel happier — and do it in a very short amount of time I have before I see my crew.

I’ve been studying happiness for a few years now, reading every book and article and study I can find. I am really interested in what we know about our own happiness (not a lot, according to one of my favorite happiness experts, Daniel Gilbert) and what we can do to feel happier (if you read one book about it, read Flourish). Time to put all this reading to work: Here are some quick small things you can do to feel happier, right now:

  • Think of something good about your day today. It can be the smallest tiniest thing. Or it can be big. But it doesn’t have to be. Here’s mine: I got a kale, broccoli, apple and celery juice at the airport and it was great. Also, it was a lot healthier than what I’ve been eating this week, so I feel like I’m changing directions for the better.
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Here’s my big 2012 resolution

Categories: Balancing Act, Your life


I don’t make a lot of New Year’s resolutions. I used to and I learned my lesson. The routine went something like this: Make too many resolutions. Set expectations too high. A few months later realize I’m failing. Feel bad. This was not productive so I stopped vowing to do things like lose weight or eat more broccoli or try to be better about remembering friends’ birthdays. (If you’ve been in a similar boat, don’t feel bad, it’s completely normal. Americans constantly overstimate how well they will stick to their New Year’s resolutions.)

No more big resolutions lists for me, thank you. But I do like the idea of having one theme for the year, one thing I’ll try to focus on. I guess you can call that a resolution but one is better than ten, right? So here’s my big theme for 2012:

Appreciate the good stuff more.

Yep, that simple. There is a lot of science that shows when you focus on the good things you have and are grateful for them, you are happier.
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5 ways you can chill more and stress less during the holidays

Categories: Balancing Act, Your life

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The holidays are stressful.

However you slice it, there is too much to do in a short period of time (unless you’re a super-planner and got it all done in October), you’re running from one family gathering to another work function, and not seeing much of that me-time for a few weeks in a row. But this year I am determined to stop looking at the holidays as a series of to-dos and actually chillax and enjoy some of them. It won’t work 100% (I know already because I am stressing over this pile of cards I need to send out) but I think I can tame the holiday anxiety monster a bit.

Here are 5 things I’m going to try to do:

  • Walk or do yoga every day. I’m going to be really stubborn about this. These are two things I do that calm my nerves and energize me to deal with whatever stress ball is aiming at me that day. So even though routine flies out the window in a few days, I’m going to figure out how to do some yoga or take a walk every day between now and New Years. Determination!
  • Accept the fact that late is better than never. There is no way these holidays cards are going out on time. They are New Year’s cards, something we do every year because (1) New Year is great to celebrate and (2) this gives me extra time to send them out. But I am going to accept the fact that some won’t get to our friends or family until well after the New Year and that’s OK. Look at it this way: They will stand out from the plethora of other cards they’ve gotten… on time.
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Sleep is the answer

Categories: Balancing Act, Your life


This has been a nutty year on all fronts but one of the things I’m pretty proud of is that I’ve not thrown out taking care of myself out the window. That had been my usual pattern when things got stressful and as I’ve shared here before, to not great outcomes. Taking a morning walk, yoga at least two or three times a week, generally clean eating (which for me means less sugar, white stuff and serious daily doses of veggies, fruit, nuts and fish) — I’ve kept up with these habits (not perfectly, but that would be a silly goal) and they’ve helped me maintain some degree of sanity and dare I say, well-being!, during this year. I so so highly recommend you do one of them if you don’t already.

But there has been one thing which I KNOW is important for health and sanity that I’ve continued to struggle with: sleep. I just don’t get enough of it.
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3 great ways to procrastinate

Categories: Career Talk, Working Women Issues, Your life

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Procrastination gets a bad rep and I can see why. I had a difficult work email to write earlier and I spent a half hour procrastinating — reading Huff Post entertainment articles, cleaning up the kitchen, staring at my computer screen and wishing it would write itself. I wasted a bunch of time, during which the email was weighing on my mind, and I wasn’t the better for it.

But I don’t think all procrastination is bad. Or rather, I think it’s impossible to avoid completely. Sometimes you have a task to get done that you completely loathe to start or are intimidated to begin. There are mornings when I come to work, for example, and feel so overwhelmed with what’s on my plate that I need some kind of a a warm-up to roll up my sleeves and get into the working mode. So my new motto is that if I’m going to procrastinate, I’m going to try and be productive about it. Here are my three favorite ways:

  • Read an article online, but just one, and hopefully not one related to the task I’m procrastinating to do. I often top to the New York Times health, technology, or style and fashion sections to find something interesting. But here’s the deal: Don’t click on any of the links in or around the article. The rule is just one article, then back to the task at hand.
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