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Milestone Monday ’ Category
Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
This is how my bad day turned good:
I ran into the grocery store in the midst of a sh-t storm I was dealing with on the homefront. You know, one of those awful, horrible days. My friend Delia Ephron had told me she had written an article in MORE Magazine this month (the May 2013 issue) and had mentioned me. She said it had to do with being fearless.
Naturally curious, and wanting to support her, I grabbed a copy in the check out line. Back in the car I had 4.33 minutes to get home for my sitter. I quickly opened up the magazine. The “Jill” she is referring to is ME! I read her article and burst into tears. You know when you just really need to know someone believes in you?
So here is to being fearless. Or at least trying!
The Art of Fearlessness, by Delia Ephron
Published in MORE Magazine
I DON’T DO THERAPY.
I used to do therapy. I had a psychotherapist in my twenties when I was unhappily married. I don’t even remember the shrink’s name, although I do remember the names of all my bad boyfriends. How ironic is that? ow that I am veering out of middle age, I don’t have time for a talking cure. I’d be in a nursing home by the time I solved the problem.
Instead, I work from the outside in. In the lifelong battle of empowerment versus insecurity, calm versus anxiety, positive versus negative, I swear by these tricks:
BOOTS. When my sister Nora and I wrote a play, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, we asked our friends to tell us about their favorite clothes. Tales of boots poured in. Boots matter, I realized. They make a woman feel brave, strong and grounded and, I almost forgot, hot. I invested in a pair, blue-gray suede, kick-ass. I want to tell you that when I wear these boots, I feel fearless, like Carrie in Homeland, but she is out of her mind, or assured, like Alicia Florrick in The Good Wife, but she has given up sex with Will Gardner, so who wants to be her? Nevertheless.
A BLOW-DRY. Nothing gives a girl more confidence. Woody Allen has written that he would never have wanted to live in a time before antibiotics were invented. For me it’s the blow-dry. Without one, I look like a woolly lamb.
SILVER HOOP EARRINGS. Recently I was booked on Morning Joe. No pressure, just three minutes to say something wonderful that would make viewers rush to read my book. “Do I look OK?” I asked the makeup woman. She considered my face and hair and said, “Silver hoop earrings.” Then she said, “Power,” as if that were the definition of silver hoop earrings. She took off hers and lent them to me. I don’t know whether it was her kindness-the sisterhood of that-or if she’s right, that silver hoops have power, but those earrings gave me an extra charge. A few days later, I bought a pair of my own.
JILL. We all have a girlfriend more daring than we are. Mine is Jill. She climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. She trekked through Mali and slept on roofs. Until I met Jill, my idea of a hike was the one block uphill from the subway to my doctor’s office. So last year, when I had to travel to several cities to give talk , I decided to be Jill. I would arrive at the airport pumped, as if embarking on a great adventure. I would make eye contact with seatmates on airplanes. I would be O-P-E-N.
I got on a plane to Nashville and found myself talking to a woman named Laura Heatherly, who runs a music-industry charity. Would I like to come to a benefit? I was Jill, so I said yes.
But you never know when your timid old self will resurface. In my hotel room, I was seized with a desire to dive into bed and order up a Law & Order marathon. Instead, I called Jill.
“Go for 15 minutes,” she said. “If it’s awful, leave.”
I did go and it wasn’t. Culinary legend Lidia Bastianich did the food. I sat at a table with Steve Cropper, who cowrote “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay,” not that we spoke, but hey. And my hosts, Laura and her husband, Bob, epitomized Southern hospitality.
On the way home, my flight was delayed. I was Jill, so I chilled.*
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Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
I had such a carefree, fun time at Mom2.0Summit. I have been entwined in a real estate issue (if anyone has bought or sold a house, you know what I’m going through) that is testing my absolute limit of what I can handle. So when Parents asked me to go on their behalf a few weeks ago, I jumped on it.
I realized how important it was for me to connect with other moms and to recharge my batteries. The conference is for mom bloggers, but what is cool is it’s such a supportive bunch of women. We all want readers and we all have something to say. Or at least we think we do. Ha! It could make for a competitive situation. Instead, it’s the opposite. It’s about women supporting women and encouraging each other. Which was appropriate considering who the main sponsor was…
Now you know I don’t endorse or do much commercial stuff on my blog. But I was able to attend the conference thanks to Dove. I gotta say the company has an amazing campaign. It’s all about empowering girls. Lisa Ling has joined on with their new initiative “Make Girls Unstoppable” (see my interview with her here). Did you know 6 out of 10 girls give up what they love to do–be it gymnastics, art, raising their hand in class, etc, because they don’t like the way they look? The company is making a commitment to reach 15 million girls by 2015 with self-esteem programming. I think that’s pretty damn cool.
While at the conference I sat down with Jess Weiner, a social media strategist. She’s also Dove’s global self-esteem ambassador. Her focus is on women and girls. I wanted to know in this day and age if it’s even harder for girls to have a positive image of themselves than when we were growing up.
“Well, I wasn’t documenting myself with Instagram when I was a girl but if I was, would I feel the same anxiety girls have about their beauty? Probably. I had it anyway but I didn’t have Facebook or Twitter or Instagram to feed me everyone else’s reaction to it. Now with technology and the click of a mouse girls are completely viral and global and while that is amazing on so many levels, it adds to the pressure of the images they have everyday. So I’m not sure if it’s gotten worse, but it’s gotten different.”
Separately, Dove recently did these sketch ads where an artist asks women to describe themselves. The artist sits behind a canvas and never physically sees them. Instead, he asks them to describe themselves and he sketches from that. It’s incredible (and frankly depressing) to see how women view themselves. It’s not pretty. But it should be. We need to feel better about ourselves and our looks. Be less critical. More confident. And pass that on to our girls.
So I guess in thinking about it, Mom2.0Summit didn’t only give me a break from my regular mom world, but it also inspired me. Even on a micro level for the kind of girl I want Fia to be and the issues to be aware of. Plus, it was good to get out of my comfort zone. Not to mention 3 straight nights of uninterrupted sleep. I can’t wait for the next one.
Me with Jess Weiner
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Sunday, April 21st, 2013
Okay, I’ve written about how
hyperactive my boy is. But now he’s taking it to a whole new level. The ceiling. Well, not quite.
I lift weights. I lift babies. I do yoga. I have strong arms and sort of a strong core…at least it’s getting there. I’m almost a hundred pounds more than Emmett. And at least three feet taller. So how is it that he is beating me in a race against poop? And why is it only me? Not his babysitter or his dad?
When I go to change his diaper, particularly when it’s poop, I go armed with toys. I get everything I need right next to me and then the boom, the race is on. Or off I should say… with the diaper.
He starts to scream and move and twist and turn while poop is hanging off of him. At times I find him dangling upside down as I hunch forward holding him by one leg, shouting “Emmett–NO!” He screams like he’s being waterboarded.
At least once a day I get it smeared on me. How’s that for disgusting? If Fia is home, I have her try and hold down his arms while I change him. She joyfully joins in on the “Emmett NO!” chant. She loves nothing more than having the upper hand. Or at least thinking she does–as feces go flying. It’s a race against the shit clock. No shit.
He is 15 months. I swear if I thought he (or I) could handle it, I would potty train him now. But I fear he’d just crap all over the house and himself. With glee.
No parent should want to take Xanax or drink before changing a diaper. It shouldn’t be this hard.
Picture of dirty diaper via Shutterstock
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Monday, April 15th, 2013
The feel of your soles hitting the pavement. The roar of the crowds. The pride in pushing your body to do something so extraordinary. You do it for a charity, for a lost one, a loved one–or just for yourself. This is what runners do. This is what marathoners do.
I ran the Boston Marathon in 2008. I did it with two of my best running friends, Katie and Rachel. We were part of a team that trained together for multiple marathons. We ran through ice and snow in the Bronx, through wind and rain in Brooklyn, logging the miles, counting the minutes and checking off the weeks.
I sit here today in shock and heartbreak over the news of two explosions at this iconic event. Reports are still sketchy–many injured, possible packages found… your mind goes to the immediate: terrorism. It’s tax day. It’s Boston. It could easily be domestic. It’s also the world’s most famous running event. So it could be international. Or maybe a gas line exploded. We don’t know. The facts will come.
What is on my mind now are the runners, the spectators, the emergency workers, the reporters, my fellow running friends and anyone else who was, until a few hours ago, enjoying being part of this storied event. On so many levels the Boston Marathon signifies what is good in the world: Persistence, Drive, Kindness, Endurance, Humility, Charity. But right now, it also signifies the bad. Or the potential of badness that exists. I am trying not to jump to conclusions.
Soon I will put on my running shoes and hit the trail. I will think back to that day when I crossed the finish line: elated, exhausted, proud. For all of those who crossed today and for all of those who watched, it will be a different memory. One mired in death and destruction. Even one of the toughest events in the world remains, at this moment, so incredibly fragile.
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Fearless Feisty Mama, Losing a Parent, Milestone Monday, Mom Situations, Must Read
Monday, April 1st, 2013
Fia loves tasks. Especially fun ones. Anything from helping me water plants to putting her stuffed animals to sleep. We had a little parent-teacher conference (yes, she’s 3. In preschool), and they suggested that over the break, give her a job to do. Phil and I thought feeding Wayne each night his dry food would be doable. She already does it with us a lot, so why not hand it over to her entirely?
We explained this was going to be her “job” everyday–that at the end of each week she would get 25-cents to put in her piggy bank. She seemed really enthused at first. She wanted to start right away. So we decided to feed the insatiable cat early. She carefully went over to the Tupperware bin and measured out his food. Of course Wayne is a beast and always knocks his giant head against the cup, so you have to dump it in his bowl fast or else it ends up on the floor. What I’m saying is there is technique involved. My child may or may not prove her genius in this task.
She managed to get most of it in the bowl. Then I explained how important it is to snap the Tupperware lid back in place. Wayne could happily eat himself to death. He probably has Prader-Willi syndrome. I helped her latch it, then we gave her her first quarter. She was so excited and proud of herself, she insisted we run right up to her room and put it in the bank.
The next day we reminded her to feed Wayne. She did, but I forgot to check the lid until I heard loud chomping. He had devoured half the bin. Whatever. He may not be my Biggest Loser anymore.
By day three when I reminded her she started to protest.
“Fia, it’s your job. Come on, it’s fun!” I said, trying to make it a positive thing.
I led her over to his food. She saw some crumbs on the floor and refused to move closer. I swept them up. She’s lucky her mom is OCD on the cleaning front. Then she saw the speckles in the wood floor. The same speckles that have been there since 1928. “I can’t walk on those,” she whined. What???? She wouldn’t budge. Started to tantrum in fact.
I pulled the bowl and the bin over to her and made her do it with me. I was clearly frustrated. She kept whining as if I were cutting off her hand.
The next day it was the same push and pull. Forget it, I said. This is stupid.
But it got me wondering when is it time to teach them chores? I always had chores and a modest allowance growing up. I think it’s a good thing. I often carry the laundry up to Fia’s room and while we’re playing, I turn it into a sorting game where she picks out all her clothes (To my friend Holly who did this with all 4 of her kids–I remember your wisdom from years back). Then we practice folding. She carries her folded pants like a fragile egg to her drawer. It’s really cute actually.
I also always try and do some sort of “clean up” during the day. I guess that in itself is a “chore.” Though sometimes I just do it myself because it’s easier.
My father was a stickler for rules. To an absolute extreme. As in “sign in and sign out” charts, a book of 86 rules and weekly “family council” meetings. Believe me, I’ll blog about it someday. I am uber aware of not wanting to be like him in that regard. I know, I know, she’s only 3 1/2 years old. But I’m just curious when you begin planting the seeds? Fill me in.
Pic of girl doing chore via shutterstock
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Fearless Feisty Mama, Milestone Monday, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips