Gig Tips: Stock up your workspace with morning routine stuff


Getting out of the house when you’re also trying to get kids out of the house is not easy. You focus on getting the kids ready, and getting them fed, but you forget about yourself.

I remember a standard routine that I used to do….

Essentially prepare yourself for a day where you have NO time to put on make up, eat, or wear proper shoes. Get your work space set up to include a complete extra set of mascara, face powder, eye liner, lipstick, hair spray. Also a pair of simple black, high heels. Also a quick breakfast if you need it (cream of wheat packets, oatmeal packets, power bars).

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That way, on days where you have breakdowns with the kids and you simply cannot devote ANY time to yourself to get ready for work, you can have what you need to do that AT work, once you get there. I remember plenty of days where this was a standard routine for me. No make up on the ferry with wet hair, and then I would get to work and put on make-up and sometimes even dry/style my hair if it was really cold outside.

Working moms tend to cut corners where needed and this is a place where I thought the corners were acceptable to cut. And if I have a full set of make up in my office, I know that on days if I forget to put on mascara, etc. I am prepared to complete my “look” at work without skipping a beat.

And I have no problem with cheap makeup. Especially if its sitting in an office drawer 95% of the time.

Thanks for listening –
– Mama K

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Random Thought: Do you have time for the Olympics?


I’m not a very big sports person.  I never really participated in sports as a child.  I never really followed a professional team (and I’m from PHILLY!!!  Imagine that… a Philadelphian who is not a fanatic).   To this day, I really don’t care to watch sports.

I remember one time participating in a football pool and I picked the teams based upon “food”.   For example, if Chicago would play Buffalo, I would pick the Windy City since I like deep dish pizza better than hot wings.   Philly would win over San Francisco since I like cheesesteaks better than sourdough bread.   You get it.  Well, I won the pool that year.  $500.   The guys in the office were NOT happy that I won, especially when they found out my strategy.

Anyway, I am like this even with the Olympics.  Although there are some events I don’t mind seeing if forced to.   I liked watching swimming with Phelps involved (the record and also the eye candy).   I like some aspects of gymnastics because it does not seem possible that a human body can do these things.  I also don’t mind ice-skating for the costumes and the drama.

Image source:  www.wikipedia.org

But this year’s Olympics.  There is so much going on with me right now that I find in my spare time I am either gardening, putting together the house, or reading.   I have not watched ONE aspect of ANY of the Olympics.  Am I an outlier?  Am I the only such creature on the planet?  Am I out of the ordinary?   Please participate in this poll to find out:

Thanks for participating!

– Mama K

Staying Sane: Complete a project


We know that stress is not good for you – emotionally, psychologically, and also physically.   And as working mothers we know stress.  Juggling all of our roles and responsibilities.  It’s a lot.   I’m not sure where I’ve read it or heard it, but I was surprised when I learned that it are the “silent stressors” that actually cause the most damage.  It are those things that you’ve “been meaning to do” but have not gotten around to it yet – that weigh you down and it is THIS stress that accumulates and causes you damage.

Just think of those things on your “to-do” list.   The things that you know you need to get to, but for some reason do not.   But you keep thinking of them.  And it weighs on you.  And you know in the back of your mind you have these unfinished tasks that need to get done.  It’s difficult to let go.

I’m trying to teach my children the importance of finishing what they start.  Go full circle.  Finish the puzzle, finish the story, you get it.  Perseverance and also focus.

The feeling of completion is great.  Think back on projects that you have done to completion.  Either yourself or with your kids.   It could be as simple as a photo-book project, the creativity of a fun Halloween costume, or even complex like the birth of a garden… moving to a new home… completing a degree.

Since my move, my office area was sort of the “dumping ground” for boxes in purgatory… and the set up that I originally had (big office table, two big filing cabinets) just was not working AT ALL.   Those that have been reading this know that I recently bought an entire office of furniture at IKEA – a computer workstation (for me), a double desk, 2 single desks, 2 sets of drawers, and 4 stools — read this post.

Well, Friday night after I dropped the kids off at co-parent’s, I decided to go to the Apple store and buy myself a new Apple computer.   I made the purchase in about 15 minutes total.  I then went home and proceeded to build the IKEA office furniture.   Drinking a Guinness, listening to music… until midnight or so.   Then I woke up on Saturday very early and immediately went to work on the same project.  I am an expert now at IKEA furniture assembly.    I was racing to complete the task before the kids were dropped of at my place at 4 PM.   I just made it in time.

And the looks on their faces when they each saw their own desk was priceless.  And there were NO fights over who was going to sit where.  They just gravitated to their own spaces and were so happy.  They pulled open their drawers and I told them that is where they can put their stuff.  Crayons, markers, paper, art, whatever they would like.   And Big Bro was so excited about doing his homework at his desk.  They loved it and spent time doing art projects in the room over the weekend.

And for me, the room is about 75% complete – I still want to get some things for their spaces.  I still need to hang curtains.  And also get the rest of the old stuff out.  But I’m almost there.  And the biggest part for me was completing the heavy lifting and transforming this room from what it was to what it is now.    A place where we can be together and “work” and create.  A place where a child can go and have their own space.   A place where we can be together.

What kinds of projects do you do that make you feel accomplished?

Thanks for listening –

– Mama K

July 26 and 27: Stabilizing


This is going out totally late, but I’ve been SUPER busy the past few days but still wanted to share some highlights:

Thursday, July 26:

  • Woke up to the kids each pattering into my room one by one and landing in my bed.  I love this time with them in the AM.   We ate a great breakfast, played with the chicken (she gave Twin Husky a peck/kiss through the screen door), and Red taught me how to dim the lights.  I never knew the lights could do that here.  She figured it out and taught me how she did it.   We got dressed and out the door.
  • There was no traffic and we talked about food shopping for the day and what kind of food we needed from Trader Joe’s.  Drop off for Big Bro and Red was fine; all kids looked at art from their art show.  I told them I would pick them up super-early – after lunch, but before nap.
  • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky and I hit the town and ran some errands in my old neighborhood.  I bought gas, and then we headed to the Main Library, which was new to us.  I needed to work a bit so the kids “read” some books, played, colored… while I sent out numerous emails for work.   This trip was essentially a disaster.  I know we won’t be going back there again.  They were at first very well-behaved.  And then I’m not sure what happened.  Maybe the snack kicked in, but they were running, scrambling on the seats, and causing a huge scene because they were laughing so hard.  All of this happening of course while I was working.   We (me and Librarian) tried to divert their attention to coloring, which lasted for about 5 minutes, but then there were back on the scrambling seats again but this time with crayons in their hands, running around in circles and drawing on the seats.  I gave them a time-out while I frantically cleaned up the crayon from the cushions.   We then fled.
  • Afterwards, we went shopping at Trader Joe’s.   We talked about the list of what we needed.  I am amazed at the memory of these 2 1/2 year olds.  They recited the entire list and even reminded me of some things I missed!    I had fun shopping with them.
  • We then went to pick up Big Bro and Red.  We headed back in no traffic.
  • At home, me and Red did our fingernails.  All kids played with bubbles.   We then took a stroll around the corner from the house where there are wild blackberries; we picked a bunch but poor Twin Husky kept walking on top of the thorned vines and hurting himself.  After a lot of other complaints it was time to go home.
  • Dinner was uneventful – except that I’m getting the kids to load up on fruits and vegetables.   Do you know that you’re supposed to have that be like 50% of your daily intake of food??!??!!?
  • We experimented with the Twins with spitting out toothpaste.  They both know how to spit so we’re graduating to the flouride-kind used by Big Bro and Red.

Friday, July 27:

  • I had to wake up super-early.  I had a court date for child custody and child support.  Therefore, kids had to be up and ready too, and all of them were going to daycare.  The kids put up a fight at first, but after they got started they were actually in great moods when we got into the car.  The ride was not bad; early enough in the summertime so the traffic was manageable.  We talked about fog.
  • Drop offs were all fine.  I hugged the kids a bit harder that morning.
  • Went off to the courthouse and met up with my new lawyer.  This will be the day that I will see what she is made of.   She had great ideas to protect me in certain areas and we showed up very well prepared.  I presented co-parent with several options that would be acceptable for me for child support decisions.  So essentially it was left to him.  We struck an agreement that is reasonable and fair.   My lawyer is great.  I wish I found her sooner.  I burned up too much money with my old lawyer and all he wanted to do was go to court.  What a waste.
  • I picked up the kids immediately afterwards.  We headed back to my house even though I had to drop the kids off at co-parent’s later that night.  I wanted to be with them and relax at my home.
  • It was hot so we did water-play.  It was fun.  I loved it actually.   I honestly needed to sit back, relax, and feel the sun on my body.  I needed to lay down and hear the kids laugh and play.   I needed to sit and not think.   I felt so much better after just 10 minutes being outside in the warm air.
  • Big Bro was a bit of a “teaser” so I sent him inside.  I then noticed that the blankets were torn off of my bed and the girl’s bed and I talked to Big Bro about it.  He claimed it wasn’t him.  I didn’t believe him since the acts would have required muscle.   I left him alone to sulk inside and was hoping he would just tell me the truth that he was mad at me.  But he wouldn’t.  He kept his story straight the whole time.  So then I asked Twin Crazy and Twin Husky, and they admitted it.  They were a pair acting together and ripped the sheets off the bed.  I felt so bad.  I apologized to Big Bro.  I said that he must have felt so frustrated at me, when he was telling me the truth and I was not listening to him.  I felt so bad for the kid.  He did so good though, staying inside and not putting up a fight with me.  I was actually very proud of him.  He told me his side of the story, and then accepted my apology with grace.
  • The ride back was fine.   Friday’s are good since I know I’m going to see them on Saturday afternoon.

Afterwards, I drove back and went to the Apple store.  I bought a new computer.  I went home.  I proceeded to put together the IKEA desk furniture.  I drank one beer and ate 1/2 box of Life cereal.  I worked until midnight.  I fell into my bed, exhausted but strangely at peace.

There are now quite a bit of the divorce process behind us.   We’ve physically separated, the kids now have two homes, I bought a house and have managed to furnish it and put it together as best I can, we battled on child custody, mediated child custody, and had a child custody evaluation for the next school year.   We mediated child support and came to an agreement.  I had one lawyer, and then another (and am much happier now).   Although it would have been nice to have an extra stream of money over to me, I think the arrangement that we came up with is good.  The money is going to childcare.  And we’re now getting the best childcare for the kids.   And I still get to feel like I’m doing this on my own.  I am fiercely independent and the thought of child support paid over to me honestly felt funny.   I don’t think I like that arrangement.   With this, we each are invented to optimize what we can earn to do the best for the kids.   And I get my autonomy.   And independence.  And ability to work the way I need to, so I can be there for the kids and take care of myself in the process.

Have a great weekend everyone

– Mama K

July 25: Reuniting with the artists


Wednesday is the only day of the week that I am truly a “working mother”, where I actually have chunks of my day devoted to both roles.   Let me tell you.  It started out good, really good.  Then sucked.  Really sucked.   Then OK.  And then I got the kids and my day turned completely around.

Highlights of the Morning:

  • I woke up and immediately started organizing and taking out the trash bins.   I got home late last night, in the dark, so couldn’t get to this last night.  So there I was in my PJs walking my grounds grabbing gardening clippings and old sprinkler hoses and looking at the morning sun and breathing the crisp air while dodging the chickens.   I also packed down boxes from the IKEA office that is being assembled.
  • I got through a LOT of emails since I worked late last night to organize these upcoming meetings in Fall.  I received a speaker confirmation from a big industry player so am thrilled – and had a great conversation with him on the phone.  I love the fact that these people call me.  They call me back!   And I can sell the opportunity on-the-fly and convince this industry leader that it makes sense for him to come to MY meeting!   I love it.  I was pumped.
  • And then I had to leave for a mediation appointment.   I just can’t go there.   I completely do not trust this man.   And now our agreement on an improved daycare situation for Twin Crazy and Twin Husky is in jeopardy because of cost.  No kidding it’s expensive to live out here with daycare with four kids.  NOW HE GETS IT???!?!?!?!??!?!?    I sat there and all of the arguments that I was trying to convince him of about the unaffordability of this place were thrown back at me during this meeting.  By him AND our mediator.   Our mediator was shocked at the amount of money we spend in daycare.  No kidding.    It’s again like throwing salt in the wounds that are trying to heal.  I know this already.  I was pleading for years.   And here we are.   No resolutions so we may be in court next week.
  • Afterwards, I drove to the kids neighborhood but I worked in a local Starbucks.  I love that place.  I got a TON of stuff done.  Lots of coordination and follow up that I needed to attack and I really was so productive.   I then went to pick up the kids.

The Rest of the Day:

  • I showed up at Big Bro and Red’s daycare and was a bit shocked at their art fair.  I didn’t know it was happening.  But the classes each created art for auction to raise money for the school.  Big Bro’s class did photography.  He took a picture of ducks swimming.   Red’s class did pasta painting.  She created a colorful flower out of colored pasta.  They were more interested in eating the food (grapes and goldfish) but they also were proud of their art.  So was I.
  • Pick up with the Twins was hysterical.  Both were screaming Mommy Mommy Mommy!!!!!!   Twin Husky was so excited that he kept throwing his Tiger up in the air.  He kept doing it over and over again and his little body was catapaulting the stuffed Tigers all over the place.  So cute.  Twin Crazy was also excited and giving lots of hugs and kisses.  Twin Husky is using more of his words and he said “Mommy come over here” and he wanted to show me a bug.  It was a rolly-polly.  I told them that if they touch it, it will turn into a ball.  So I did and we were all laughing.  And then Twin Husky, clueless as usual, tried it as well but wound up smashing it all over the sidewalk.  Poor thing.
  • On the ride home we did not have any music but all talked.  Twin Crazy is amazingly verbal.  She was having full blown conversations about the guinea pig and the animals at the house and how we lock the doors to stay safe and how foxes eat chickens and on and on and on….   We talked about the motorcycles and how they weave along lanes of cars in traffic and how that can be dangerous.  We talked about the commuter train.  We talked about motorcyclists who were driving more safe than others.  We talked about how I saw deer on the road the other day.  We talked about the fog.  We talked a lot but I think Twin Crazy honestly did most of the talking.
  • At home I started on dinner and the kids went with me to get the mail.   We met neighbors walking their dog Rocco – a huge friendly dog that scared Twin Husky but thrilled Twin Crazy.   Red kept wanting to “do something” with me; we settled on Legos and I was going back and forth with Big Bro and Red while the Twins were outside talking and raking chicken poop.
  • Kids ate well.   We had smoothies for dessert.
  • Afterwards we did more Legos, and also drew.  Twin Husky and Twin Crazy were very proud of their art.  We hung everything on an “art wall” that I have in the kitchen and they were excited.  Red was coloring and I handed her the colors for her work.
  • Bedtime went really well.  They all listened with brushing teeth.  Twin Crazy and Twin Husky can now “spit” so I guess I can start them on real toothpaste tomorrow night.   All kids were good with books and all kids settled into bed reasonably fast.   It was a good night.

One thing that I’m really struck by is the difference in the Twins each Wednesday when I see them.  Only 3 days have gone by, but they are different.  Honestly.  I can’t believe how talkative Twin Crazy was tonight.  

I got soooooo much attention from all the kids.  I love Wednesdays.   I felt super productive at work – even though it was only a 1/2 day for me – and was reunited with the kids.   I can go to sleep happy tonight despite the mediation morning, which sucked royally.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

Gig Tips: Believe in Yourself


I came across this article today and thought it great to share with us working mamas.  I know the feeling of having two left feet very well.  I know how it feels to seem inadequate in all that I do.  I know the feeling that I’m somehow dropping the ball on someone, something, somebody.   I know this.   I read this article and a lot triggered thoughts in me.  Although its focused on feeling confident for landing a job, I believe that we should all believe in these words in our day to day lives – at work AND at home with our children.  

I’ve inserted my comments where relevant.

picture credit: http://shalinijena.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/what-do-you-believe-in/

 

Let me know what you think.

 

article source:   Simply Hired,   5 Ways to Get Your Swagger On

July 19, 2012

5 Ways To Get Your Swagger On

By Robin Fisher Roffer

So many people I know who once had major success in high profile positions now feel like they can’t get even get a phone call returned. One former television executive just asked me, “Am I pathetic?”

When you question yourself in this way, you don’t show up, uncertainty does. You may think you’re fooling everyone with the right clothes and your game face, but your insecurity is all they see.

Today’s decision makers want to be reassured that they are making the right choice by hiring with you. There’s a lot of doubt in the business world and when you doubt yourself, you just add to it.

Here are five ways to step away from self-doubt and career uncertainty:

1. Connect With A Supportive Community.

Community creates contentment. That’s why it’s important not to isolate. When we separate ourselves from our feelings and from positive influences, we sabotage our happiness. To connect with your highest self, get into a group that meets regularly and say “goodbye” to people who don’t believe in you.

Mama K comment:  Look in your community for working mother groups.   Find colleagues who are working mothers and go out to lunch, coffee, etc.  Make time for each other.   Visit www.mamainmotion site frequently.  🙂

2. Move Like Jagger.

To instill confidence, you have to move in a way that tells people, “Pay attention to me. What I do and have to say matters.” Make a list of all of your accomplishments to remind yourself of how talented and valuable you really are and then read that list right before you make an important call or walk into a meeting.

Mama K comment: Look at what you have accomplished!   You have created another human being, or two, or three, or four….   You can get yourself dressed in the morning and the kiddos out the door…. you have a job and are earning money…. you are able to multi-task….   Think about the things that you offer your workplace that only you can do.   Think about how you have grown as a worker because of your experience having children (e.g., negotiating, listening, hearing, solving problems….).    BELIEVE IN YOURSELF and HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH!!! 

3. Be Cooperative, Not Competitive.

Yes, you have to stand out from the pack to get a great job or make an awesome deal. Just don’t be ugly about it — when you throw dirt, you lose ground. You want to be seen as a relationship builder who works well with others and can motivate a team to excellence – someone who can collaborate and co-create with a lot of different personalities.

Mama K comment: We teach this to our children.  Treat those like you would want to be treated.  The best way to teach our children this is through example.  Be that role model that you want to be for your children.  Do it at home, and do it at work too.

4. Stop Asking Everyone What They Think.

Let’s face it, you’re not seeking advice, you’re seeking approval. And the more advice you get, the more confused you become. The answers are inside of you. Listen carefully to your gut and let it guide you to what you really want.

Mama K comment:  I love this one.  Aren’t we all like this when we start out?  We are so unsure of ourselves?  Remember the first hour, day, week, you held your first child?   Now look at you!   You are an expert!   Think of all the other things that you KNOW you can do BETTER than others.   Again, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.   Listen to what your intuition tells you.  You’ve learned this at home with your babies.  With your children.  Somehow you just know fundamentally what they need.   Apply the same thinking to yourself.  Trust your intuition and instinct.  Be that expert at work!   You have the answer!   BE SELF CONFIDENT!   You are a superwoman!

5. Communicate With Yourself Authentically.

More than ever, people are in fear and they want to be around those with inner strength. Now is the time to know yourself, be sure of yourself and stop apologizing for who you are. If you can’t see past your failures, start being conscious in each moment so you can feel the goodness in you.

The purpose of all communication is about love, not judgments or manipulation. Check your motivations. If you’re coming from a place of desperation, scarcity or fear, stop right there and do something to take care of you. Go for a long walk, volunteer, have a good meal, get a massage or play with your children. You’ll find that through self-care your attitude will improve and the right opportunities will come knocking.

Mama K comment:   This one is deep.   Communication is so key.  But this is asking so much more.  It’s asking you to look deep within yourself and know who you are and what you want.  Be honest with yourself.  I think this is REALLY hard for working mothers to do… my thinking is that we spend so much time thinking about others that it is easy to push ourselves aside.   This is a reminder to bring you back.   And when you talk, when you have an opinion, and when you voice your opinion, TEST yourself.    Are you being true to yourself?  Are you being sincere?  Genuine?   If you catch yourself saying no, you need a “time out.”

 Thanks for listening –

– Mama K

Random Thought: Biggest bargain office ever?


It’s a Monday. A day without the children. I usually would do daily journals capturing the transitions between being a mom and working, and then working and being a mom again. Since my separation/divorce, these daily journals just don’t make much sense anymore so I am changing up my normal routine.

Last night after I dropped the kids off, I decided to go shopping. I knew where I was going. IKEA.

Remember those days of dorm living? Remember those days after college when you got a place of your own? Remember the deals and steals at IKEA? The particle-board furniture that looked pretty damn good?

Well, I went to IKEA last night. And believe it or not, I bought an ENTIRE room of office furniture for me and the kids for get this…. $526 including sales tax. This included: one computer workstation, two sets of drawers, one double-desk, two single desks, and four little white stools for the little ones. So I get my office, plus the four kids get their OWN desks and chairs for homework (Big Bro) and “work” (aka creative arts) for the other ones! I’m so excited!!!! And hopefully it will look good/reasonable/passable…. oh I’ll just through some plants around and cute drapes and I’m sure it will be fine.

ENTIRE ROOM!!! $526 WITH TAX!!!!

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Now the hard part…. getting the OLD stuff out (conference room table that is HUGE and heavy, two filing cabinet drawers that are HUGE and heavy) and the new stuff built…. I just brought all the boxes from my car to the house and almost tore my voice-box out when one of the boxes slammed from my step into my throat. Now I sound like Demi Moore.

Wish me luck with the Swedish wrench tool.

Where are you finding unbelievable steals/deals to prepare for the next school year????

Til tomorrow –
– Mama K

Staying Sane: Pamper yourself


This post will be QUICK since its from my phone, it is very late, and I’m just exhausted from a crazy couple of weeks

Anyway, I always find that a good home-spa treatment is a great way to decompress and feel more like yourself. Think mud mask, lotions, painting nails. A good haircut also helps since we are on the topic of personal care.

And yes, my kids got manicures today and some mommy-haircuts. They will look fabulous tomorrow, even twin husky who wanted his nails “blue”, his favorite color.

Great week all –
– mama k

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July 18: Teeth


Wednesday, working 1/2 day from home, then I get the kids.  We had a big day today.

Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I woke up super early.  Did some laundry.  Set up for work.  It was chilly so I put the fire on.   I love this house.
  • I was very productive today.  I arranged speakers for two forums and talked with an ex-colleague.   Sent out some emails regarding a media interview.  I may be interviewed on Monday; I’ll find out over the next day or two.
  • I wrapped up at 12:30 to get the kids.

Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

  • Picked up all kids; went to the Dentist!  All kids were great.  Red got x-rays.   Kids played before hand.  Big kids were amazingly still and calm during their checkup so Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were completely OK with their check up.  They all did great.  Big Bro picked mint toothpaste, Red picked Orange, Twin Husky picked Grape, and Twin Crazy picked Strawberry.
  • We went to Home Depot to return some dead plants and I picked up some others that will thrive around the house.  I pulled the divorced mom of four kids story and got 50% of my new plants, after returning the dead ones with tags still on them (but no receipt).   I was pumped.
  • Got back to the house and the Legos arrived from Amazon.  All kids were busy with their Legos.
  • We ate fast – Twin Husky cut up his hot dog.  
  • The grandkids next door (other next door – the house with the chickens) came over to play.  We played ball in the backyard.  So I had 7 kids on my hands.
  • I picked some weeds and fed the chickens.
  • Bedtime was rough.  The kids are taking a long time to get used to this transition at this house.  I talked with the girls for awhile.   Twin Crazy is a parrot to Red.  She repeats EVERYTHING.  Questions and all.   “Do foxes walk on two or four legs?  Do foxes eat chickens?  Do foxes eat guinnea pigs?  Do foxes eat fish?   What do dogs eat?  How do dogs eat?  I love the sound of crickets.   Is the guinnea pig safe because he’s in his cage?”
  • I told Twin Crazy that I loved her and kissed her forehead.  She said I love you right back.  I did the same for Red.  I told them that I’m so happy that they are here.

I had a great day.  I felt super-productive at work, and had a really long and diverse time with the kids.  Dentists, plant shopping, Legos, playing ball…. it was great.

Gig Tips: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People


I came across the article below that summarizes the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, by Steven Covey who died today.   

I’ve added my commentary about the implications to working mothers.   After reading through the 7 Habits, and thinking about the Working Mother, I honestly believe that Working Mothers have it harder at first, but over time, the fact that we work and have kids sharpens these skills and actually puts us at an advantage.    Perhaps being a seasoned Working Mother by definition means that you are “highly effective”.

Please add to this and let us know your thoughts…

*****

RIP Stephen Covey: Here Are His Famous ‘7 Habits Of Highly Effective People’

Shlomo Sprung|Jul. 16, 2012

source:  http://www.businessinsider.com/stephen-coveys-7-habits-of-highly-effective-people-2012-7#ixzz20uFn88TJ

“In honor of renowned author Stephen Covey, who died this morning at age 79, we’ve decided to succinctly break down the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” from his all-time best-selling book, which sold 20 million copies.

Here’s the short version… “

“1) Be Proactive

As human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. We have the independent will to make our own choices and decisions, and the responsibility (“the ability to respond”) to make the right choices. You have the freedom to choose your own fate and path, so having the independent will, imagination and self-awareness to make the right move makes you a proactive, and not a reactive, person.”

Mama K’s thoughts on the Implications to Working Mothers:

  • Sometimes this is difficult to believe in when you feel that you need to provide the best for your family.  I’ve written a lot recently about the tradeoffs between Money and More Quality Time with Your Family.   You may FEEL like you do not have a choice, but in many cases you actually DO have that choice.  Take charge of your life.  You only get one of them.   Believe in the choices that you have in front of you.  See the choices.   Believe that they are within reach.  Do not fear change.  Go for it.  Whether it be the decision to scale back work to spend more time with your children, or go for that promotion at work, or decide to change jobs/careers… you get it.   Don’t get stuck.  Believe in yourself and KNOW that you DO have choices in front of you.   You need the courage to SEE them.

“2) Begin With The End In Mind

Mental visualization is extremely important. Covey says that all things are created twice: first, the mental conceptualization and visualization and a second physical, actual creation. Becoming your own creator means to plan and visualize what you’re going to do and what you’re setting out to accomplish and then go out and creating it. Identifying your personal statement and your principles will help.”

Mama K’s thoughts on the Implications to Working Mothers:

  • This is also difficult for working mothers to do at first.  Sometimes our time horizon is just getting through the week, or even getting through the day unscathed.   It is difficult to raise your head above the day-to-day craziness and  juggling of work and home to see that longer-term path.   But I’ve heard that it gets easier.   And as the kids grow your time becomes more of your own.  And your focus can be realigned more with your career.   But even if it is not, even if you want that long-term horizon to be you as a mom being the best mom you can be, you can still chart your course.  Imagine, visualize, and then make happen.  
  • For me, I’ve always envisioned being the one to drop off the kids at school and being there for them for pick up and to help with homework while food is cooking; that vision is still in my mind.  And I am still working hard to make that happen.

“3) Put First Things First

With your power of independent will, you can create the ending you want to have. Part of that comes with effective time management, which is divided into what is urgent and what is not urgent. If you deal with crises, pressing problems and deadline-driven projects first, your life will be a lot easier.”

Mama K’s thoughts on the Implications to Working Mothers:

  • We have a leg-up here ladies.  If ANYONE can multi-task, resolve problems, prioritize, and effectively use our time, WE can.  We can do this in our sleep.  Being a mom has trained us.  Applying these skills professionally becomes more natural to us.   Think of whack-a-mole.   Working mothers, I believe, are simply trained personally and professionally to excel here.

“4) Think Win/Win

If you believe in a better way to accomplish goals that’s mutually beneficial to all sides, that’s a win/win situation. “All parties feel good about the decision and feel committed to the action plan,” Covey wrote. “One person’s success is not achieved at the expense or exclusion of the success of others.” If you have integrity and maturity, there’s no reason win/win situations can’t happen all the time.”

Mama K’s thoughts on the Implications to Working Mothers:

  • Think about how you negotiate with your children.  Think about how you position things/plans/activities/responsibilities with your kids to get them motivated to do the things you want them to do.  For example, giving them a CHOICE between something (e.g., carrots, or string beans?) and packaging it in a way that makes it seem like they are in control.  They feel independent, and you get them to eat their veggies.  Win / Win.   We know how to do this and we do it daily with our kids.  All of the time.  This is a skill that we have perfected.

“5) Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood

If you’re a good listener and you take the time to understand a concept, it will help you convey your opinions, plans and goals to others. It starts with communication and strong listening skills, followed by diagnosing the situation and then communicating your solution to others.”

Mama K’s thoughts on the Implications to Working Mothers:

  • Again – being a mom has surely helped you to go beyond your own needs to think about the needs of someone else.  As your babies grow, they communicate to you.   We’ve learned that to stop the tantrums from happening, we proactively LISTEN to our children and we let them know that WE HEAR them and that we UNDERSTAND.   We REPEAT the issue to the child (my goodness that IS a big owie.  You must have been scared when you fell down.  That must have hurt you!).   Providing a solution afterwards is always easier after the person/child knows that you’ve heard them, see them, and understand.

“6) Synergize

Synergistic communication, according to Covey, is “opening your mind and heart to new possibilities, new alternatives, new options.” This applies to the classroom, the business world and wherever you could apply openness and communication. It’s all about building cooperation and trust.”

Mama K’s thoughts on the Implications to Working Mothers:

  • The wonder of our children help us here.  Their minds are unlimited.  They don’t have strict biases.   They are possibly the most creative that they will be – over time our creativity becomes stiffled for some reason.  I believe that working mothers can learn from our children here and apply how children think to the working world.  Keep an open mind – break down your barriers of thought.   Working moms are lucky to have their kids serve as role models for them.

“7) Sharpen The Saw

Sometimes you’re working so hard on the other six habits that you forget about re-energizing and renewing yourself to sharpen yourself for the tasks in front of you. Some sharpening techniques include exercise and nutrition, reading, planning and writing, service and empathy and commitment, study and meditation.”

Mama K’s thoughts on the Implications to Working Mothers:

  • This is commonly understood.  “A happy mommy is a happy family”.   You need to take care of yourself.   Working mothers become aware of this need almost immediately – almost the first day back from maternity leave.  The question of “how the hell am I going to be able to DO all of this???” and then short-changing yourself.  It is not sustainable.  Hopefully the working mother learns this early and makes choices early on so as not to lose herself.

What do you think????   What else resonates with you???  Please share your thoughts!

Thanks for listening –

– Mama K

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