- A Leader Doesn’t Have to Be an Extrovert
- Schedule time to Organize your calendar (don’t let it rule you) or as I like to say these days: Plan, Predict, Prioritize, Communicate (why can’t I think of a word for communicate that starts with a P!)
- Read all email every day…and respond in a timely manner
- Process training and pay requests in near immediate time
- Clear off your desk (keep it organized)
- Schedule time to talk with employees about performance or to just talk
- Truly operate under an open door policy (despite other deadline pressures)
- Be Transparent
- Take time off for you
- Leave work on time
I have a problem. I like to do too much. For some reason I have the hardest time saying no to all the awesome things life has to offer. In 2013, I started prioritizing what I would commit to as noted in this post (Drowning is Not an Option). Essentially I decided I would mature the wife, mother, employee, Reservist and self part of my life. Then I tried to add a “slicer“…that failed.
So let’s fast forward to today…it’s amazing how you can only “plan, predict and prioritize” so much. Over the last wow 5ish years…I’ve been perfecting my ability to do things.
So when my boss asked me if I wanted to increase my work hours from 32 per week to 40…I excitedly said YES! But then I thought about it and he called me out for my inability to stick to the yes. So this year’s focus is saying no. I want to focus on work/life balance (you know things like eating, sleeping…drinking water). I’m not going to answer all the questions I can answer on Facebook. I’m not going to provide unsolicited advice. I’ll write about it and just try to focus on the me part a little more this year.
So 2018…this year is for me. I’m going to work out, drink water every day, eat, try to sleep, and say no to over committing myself.
She will stick it in her hair.
That’s the theme of this last week. A calamity of events I’ll say. But you know we did it together and it was AWESOME. Seriously.
My youngest brother is getting married later this month to an amazing lady whom I love. It is important to me that we attend. So naturally four of us, sans George (still on his business trip), piled into a plane and took a quick hop home … ok not so quick. Our first flight was 9 hours.
So I thought I’d reflect on flying solo and general travel with three for a minute. Let’s start at leaving our house…Armed with the standard flying luggage…you know my trusty umbrella stroller, two car seats, one large luggage roller bag with clothes to support 40’F to 80’F weather, activity backpacks and the standard infant necessities I marched the crew to the train. According to Google that should take 3 minutes…it took an hour (lugging all that down two flights of concrete stairs is a challenge). Then fast forward two hours on the train where Elle decided she was done with the train…I think the icing on that cake was the final train station didn’t have an elevator and had four flights of concrete stairs. That took another hour and I hurt myself (hip flexors I think) double wearing and carrying that luggage bag.
We had left the day prior to our flight to ensure no last minute awesomeness. When we arrived at the hotel in high spirits (at 1 am…Hahahaha) our elation was somewhat crumpled when our flight out was cancelled. Okay…so naturally the next day we walked to the local library in the rain because it would rain all day…and enjoyed a good read. That walk to and from the library was full of Sweetpea chatter….jokes, realizations and lessons she needed to teach me, advice on life, and the ever reassurance that I’m a strong Mom and that I can do this. As we traipsed back to our hotel, the moments were not lost on me. I felt I had the biggest smile and warmest heart. What a beautiful moment in time. I will treasure this.
Ok yes another fun fact about travel is sometimes little ladies get a little bit uneasy about new places to sleep. I celebrated the hotel when I saw the pack and play but quickly realized no one, including Gigi, wanted anything to do with it. So I found it immensely entertaining that to fit all four of us in a double (full? I don’t know whatever is one size down from a queen) we all had to sleep cross wise on the bed. I’m just glad that all 5’3” ish of me is around the width of that mattress. The room was the last room available (and in shuttle range of the air terminal)…Elle felt so special snuggled right next to me…except this lovely little lady felt the need to name and point out each body part she knew on all sleeping people: Toe!!!!! Nooooooo (nose)!!!!! Ear!!!!! Her enthusiasm was precious and punctuated with giggles and laughter with Sweetpea. At first, I was irritated and then listened to them and hoped those precious sounds are something I will always remember.
To be honest, I chose a military flight (Space A) for our first adventure because mistakes are bound to happen ie how does one get on or off an airplane with capable four yr old, an infant, a toddler who runs and two car seats (yup…no idea…just realizing that one)…I didn’t think that one through. Not to assume my military sisters and brothers aide….but I did and I will pay the amazing support forward.
So some of the fun:
1. You know with three someone oftentimes needs something. There is hardly a dull moment. BUT….after three hours of Elle’s frustration (the standard crying, yelling, screaming, anger with brief lulls as toys and her gracious neighbor temporarily distracted her) at being in her car seat…she passed out.
2. Right when Elle passed out…Gigi woke up. BUT with three hours til landing — Gigi fell asleep.
3. Right when Gigi fell asleep, Sweetpea had her first melt down on this plane…the warming eye mask I’d brought with us was too hot for her and didn’t fit her head. So a lullaby later, snuggled in an airplane blanket, she fell asleep.
4. I promptly fell asleep…Elle and Gigi in their car seats and Sweetpea…well she had two seats by the window by herself and was now fast asleep with her legs shooting into the isle.
5. I do not think the four of us can fit in the airplane bathroom. Thankfully I had car seats to secure kids in…not sure how I feel about leaving kids for restroom breaks. I’m really not such the fan.
6. Lollipops were genius for take off/landing until I saw Elle matte it in her hair.
7. New toys were great time passers….Sweetpea informed me that her next fidget spinner …well she wants one to light up one “like Cyrus”…her preschool buddy. Peer pressure starts so young…as does consumerism!
8. Filling out customs forms is simply hilarious. “On this flight the flight attendant does not have a pen so please borrow from your neighbor.” That’s funny…or not. Because seriously where did I pack the pen….
9. I was so thankful for some of the games on my tv monitor…that blackjack game kept my brain awake. I just don’t like the idea of falling asleep while holding Gigi. I should be fine but that “should” factor has many endings some of which I want nothing to do with…that’s a horrid thought.
AND WE LANDED!
I thought I’d continue my Instant Pot or Instapot thoughts. So far I’m finding that the instapot is not:
- Going to help me lose weight…I feel people start cooking healthier foods with the Instapot (?)…I will say Indian cuisine calls for coconut milk etc etc and though delicious it IS high in fat.
- Going to save time. Most of the recipes say “25 minutes” but fail to account for things like a) I don’t chop like a chef, b) we have three children and two dogs, c) I forgot where the garam masala is and d) the instapot takes time to pressurize and depressurize…so I plan on an hour for each meal.
What the Instapot does allow for:
- Hands off while cooking amazingness. I can be present while someone needs a book read, a diaper change, a face washed, a crayon wall drawing rescued…etc.
- Cooking frozen meats to cooked deliciousness without having to thaw the meat out
- Cooking two meals on a Sunday in a reasonable amount of time so that I can heat up Monday’s dinner but then cook Tuesday’s dinner the day prior.
I thought I’d share some of my favorite recipes:
Butter Chicken (It’s not spicy … just delicious)
Then add that into my other “in a pinch” recipes:
We welcomed Gigi into our lives a little over a week ago. So far she is the most amazing baby ever. Just a generally happy little girl. She sleeps through Sweetpea and Elle’s anti-quiet playtime and generally goes with whatever is going on. Before having her, 3 didn’t seem to bad. Now we’re a week or so into it all and … as a good friend said…having more children is still introducing a new person to your routine. So yes things area bit slower, take a little longer, but so far so good.
My only real concern is Elle. She LOVES baby G. She seriously thinks Gigi is her real live baby. Allot of my time is spent protecting Gigi from Elle. In an effort to make interactions positive, we’re focusing on gentle touches and loving sister…but not LOVING sister. So lots of watching there.
Sweetpea argues with me to help more. I don’t want her to feel burdened by siblings or helping but she seriously wants to. I have to make an effort to not ask her for too much. She will go and do so much. I’d rather she still be four.
So that leaves me. I thought I’d be honest. Physically, consistent with the past, I’m about 10 lbs from my pre-baby weight. That will go away soon due to breastfeeding. I bring this up because the first indication someone sees is physical. So it looks like everything is great. The problem is sometimes there is more than physical. For me, post baby can be a time of difficulty. I do great on the physical return to myself, it’s the brain part that’s difficult. I get anxious. Post Sweetpea I didn’t realize that not everyone experiences anxiety/depression. So this time, I’m focusing on establishing a routine, doing something every day for me, task management, organization, taking vitamins, getting out of the house in the mornings (when I’m anxious). Things seem to be progressing better than in the past…which is so good. I’ll be solo-parenting here soon so the better off I am…I’d really appreciate it.
Probably not what I was expecting my then two year old Sweetpea to say. I remember looking at her and thinking who. are. you???????? Oh yeah that’s right, you’re echoing things I say. As Sweetpea has grown, so has her logic, her vocabulary, her curiosity, and her capability.
This past week preschool had a “wear your favorite color” to class day…Sweetpea’s response, “Mom, I need something spectacular to wear tomorrow.” We ultimately settled settled on a favorite dress…Then follow this by the excitement that it’s her day to do her laundry…It’s moments like these I remember but also forget Sweetpea is 4. I forget what 4 is supposed to mean.
Then I slow down from the hundred other things I’m supposed to be doing and watch a quiet moment between sisters. I look at what they’re playing with and realize four and one are….four and one. It’s me calming down and being patient. It’s realizing that though I told someone to put their toys away (seventeen hundred times), someone probably didn’t register it or see their toys on the floor. It’s realizing that the “water on the stone” still applies. It’s remembering that Daniel Tiger is still an interesting show.
“George must be so disappointed”…Ok let’s start with how on earth am I supposed to respond to that? I have a wonderful growing girl who is trying to kick her way into this world. How am I supposed to say to my baby that she is somehow less because she is a girl…?!!!?! I mean she’s a person (moral debate aside)…am I supposed to apologize for her existence? Ok that got serious fast. But seriously people! We are so excited to have #3.
I have read articles on how hard it is going from one to two and so on and so forth. Ask me again in 3 months but for now the thought of three does not daunt me. Sure there will be growing pains but all in all, I’ll babywear #3 (if she’s into that), hold Elle’s hand and monitor Sweetpea’s big girl-ness. We’ll be a little bit later, a little bit slower, have lots of spilled milk, tons of amazing kid and/or adult temper tantrums, lack of sleep and general learning curve fun. But in there we will be a family. Sweetpea will try to parent, Elle will try to take baby 3’s attention and baby 3…well I’m thinking I’ve got another spunky kid…so maybe she’ll be difficult or not. Sweetpea has already been telling me how if Elle tries to hit/bite/scratch baby 3 she will just pick up baby 3….um no. Please not….yet atleast. Sometimes I think having kids is about accepting the mess, the chaos, seeing the end goal and just realizing my “me” time has compressed to 5 minutes in the morning while trying to apply eye liner with a 1 year old trying to climb my leg. (I WILL PUT ON MAKE UP….so if you see me with bright red lipstick and uneven eye liner just know that was my me minute).
As I reflect on having three, I am so glad to have children a smidge later in life. I am so enjoying the small moments. In college and in my career circa my 20s having children and pregnancy were so negative, that pregnancy with Sweetpea though exciting (she was/is so wanted) was extremely hard to accept (I hate to admit that now). At the time, I feel I had been trained that to be pregnant…you might as well just count yourself out…just horrible. My job has since changed, my bosses fully accept (and wholeheartedly support) the fact that we’re expecting Baby 3, that I will require time to pump, that there will be baby sick days, that I will take 6 weeks off. I feel that with this pregnancy, despite the fact that it has been significantly more difficult than the last ones, has truly been a blessing. With each little kick I just feel so happy to have Baby 3. It’s truly been a journey.