I guess it’s just a fact that it takes death to appreciate life. My friend, Lisa, died suddenly- she was only forty- left behind two beautiful children. What is at least a bit of comfort to all who know her is her children. Lisa lives on through her kids. They are her legacy.
It’s true that there are those who live beyond their years through their actions- leaders, inventors, innovators. But in reality that is only a small fraction of us. Everyone else lives on through children. The impact we make on our kids lasts generations through all time.
Living for our kids and defining ourselves through our children has somehow managed to become something really bad. A sign of parents who don’t know how to have their own life. A sign of parents who are somehow imbalanced. Being proud that your child does well as if it’s your own accomplishment is mocked.
I think we’re wrong. Ultimately, we are judged by our actions and the fruits of our labor. Ultimately, we live on through our children and their children. What’s so bad about wrapping ourselves in our children’s lives? Are we afraid to face their failures as our own? Are we afraid that as they grow, we will be left behind, unable to grow with them?
Lisa, I will always remember your incredibly infectious laugh. Sorry you had to go so soon. May you live on through your legacy. Thank you for reminding me what an extraordinary role moms play as we bring children into this world and raise them.
Who are the experts in our doctors’ offices? Sounds like a very easy question. A few people very quickly come to mind.
- The receptionist at the front desk, who finds our chart quickly and gets us the appointment we need- note to self- a little chocolate never hurt anyone.
- The nurse, whose expertise needs to be valued as much as our doctor and who can be very helpful in not only calming our nerves but also in explaining what could otherwise be incomprehensible.
- The doctor, who with his many years of training and specialized knowledge does not need any greater explanation.
But the most important expert who is often overlooked and without whom we cannot get an accurate diagnosis or even a quick recovery is us. Yes, we are experts. And this vital fact is something that we can never afford to forget. It is very easy to walk into a doctor’s office and simply surrender to all that is before us. After all, if we knew what to do, we wouldn’t even be in the waiting room.
So, what in the world is our expertise as we sit in the office naked with simply a robe between us and our doctor? Our expertise is ourselves. We know our bodies and whether something just isn’t right. We may not be able to put our fingers on it but if something is off, we know it or if things feel just fine, we know that too. This is our expertise.
But with the many other experts who surround us when we walk into a doctor’s office, it’s easy to belittle what we know. Our ability to trust ourselves and accurately describe what we feel to our doctor is vital. And here’s another important key, if your doctor disagrees, don’t back down too easily.
I am not writing this to say that when it comes to medicine you know more than your doctor. This is completely not true. But when it comes to what you are feeling, you know better and until you are comfortable with your doctor’s diagnosis and prognosis, don’t give up. Your continued questioning can help your doctor look at your case in a new light, your accurate
I went to a party the other day. My friend had one too many to drink and was having a blast dancing with a couple of guys- all married, while her husband stood back and tried not to watch. I want to judge. Does that make me a horrible person? It’s not that I want to condemn my friend. It’s not that I think that I am so much better.
But, I think that once we lay off of judging completely, we somehow also lose sight of our values. Is it so horrible to say that someone is doing it wrong? Sure, I may not know the whole story. Maybe, she had a hell of a day- boy can I relate. Maybe, her husband does the same thing. Oh and by the way, who says what she did was so wrong?
I don’t know. I’m just not buying this not judging stuff. I think she was wrong. I’d like to turn to my kids and say- no way are you going to do that. Uncool. Getting drunk and dancing with married men, while you are married too? Nope. It may not make me hip. But, the flip side of not judging means not standing up for values.
I know you disagree. Tell me why. Thanks.
I’m a mom. I have 5 kids and 1 husband. I am an attorney. I teach. I volunteer. I just wrote a book and so now I’m on the speaking circuit too.
How do I do it? What’s the simple trick that you can do too? The answer of the right combination of organizational skills, know how, and tricks of the trade?
Well here it is: I don’t do it. It’s impossible. Something always gives. The truth is when we focus on one area another gives. Sure, we can multi-task, have our kids lay out their clothes the night before, go out Saturday night with a friend/potential business partner. But at the end of the day, there is a limit.
Be honest- What do you sacrifice to “do it all”? And by the way, when did “good enough” become enough?
Balancing work and home life is what we all strive for: we multi-task, we organize, we cut to the chase, we learn the tricks. But you know what? Having that perfect balance is an urban myth.
Let’s think about this for a minute. Balancing by its nature is risky business. Tightrope walkers balance, gymnasts balance, window washers balance. This isn’t for everyone. Sure most of us can walk a balance beam six inches from the ground but to walk it four feet up and do tricks while we’re at it?
And that’s exactly what we expect from ourselves. To have it all – walk that balance beam and do tricks while we’re at it. A few of us will succeed. Most of us will fail. We may think we are handling the job, the kids, the home, the man but really all it takes is a sick day to knock us down. If we’re down long enough and honest with ourselves, we’ll see we’re really not doing such a great job of juggling all the balls while walking a narrow beam. At most maybe we’re holding on to one ball, have one in our pocket and dropped the others- that are conveniently bouncing up and down off the beam giving the illusion that we’re the ones juggling.
Yet we all buy into the myth: balance is attainable. Maybe it’s better to do one thing at a time rather than pretend we can balance it all. The sooner we come to terms with that, the less likely for us to fall and break a leg or worse, drop a ball that simply rolls out of sight.
Thank you to my friend Jerry for exposing the myth to me.
- There was a while there my 11 year old would go and sit on the roof ledge for some peace and quite. He actually put a pillow on the roof while he sat and read.
- When his kindergarten teacher asked me to get a folder for my son, I turned to my five year old and told him it’s his job to get one at home and if he doesn’t have it the next day, his teacher would not be happy. I think his teacher would’ve reported me, if she could have.
- We have five minutes to get out of the house . . . Each of my kids have come out without shoes at least once. But after that, they were ready . . .
- It’s 30 degrees out- my kids go to school in shorts and no winter jacket.
- Mattress Surfing down the steps- how cool is that?
- Homework is nonnegotiable. They must help around the house . . . they do that sometimes.
- And yes, I have a son with a nut allergy and we still have them in the house. The horror!
I believe kids should be kids. They need to experience life and live it to it’s fullest. They need to learn to navigate some challenges on their own. They may get some cuts and bruises along the way, but the lessons they learn will serve them a lifetime.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t pray to God to give me the wisdom to do the best by each of my kids. For as soon as I became a mom, I realized there is no way mere mortals alone can face the wrath of crying babies or hormoned teens. Here’s to us moms on the front lines. . .