Archive | February, 2013

Cape?What Cape?

imagesScaling up. Sounds great, right? It’s what most entrepreneurs strive to do. It’s often the message we receive from almost every media and societal angle on a daily basis- more, more, more. Ping, ping, ping. Do more, spend more, get more, BE more.

Spend enough time with any group of driven people and you will notice that they are always on the cusp of the next great accomplishment. Planning, executing, failing, dusting knees off, trying again. Their business plan is always at their fingertips, laminated, and rarely subject to change.

Parenthood has taken me on this ride a few times- that undying quest for greatness AND BADGE of honor. The desire for the best employee parking spot. There is this insane notion that we must do more STUFF with our kids to be a good mom or dad. More activities. More hobbies. More language acquisition for the future diplomat. More, more, more- until our calendar looks like a football coach’s scrimmage playbook.

We sometimes forget quality and downtime to just be. To relax, talk, breathe, stare at a cicada’s very strange mating habits in the driveway. You know what happens in my family when we get too busy with ‘stuff’? Meltdown City. Make that Meltdown State.

The quest for being a perfect parent and business partner can be  exhausting. No offense (because I am perfectly capable of looking in the mirror) but we moms can be pretty MANIC these days. I gave myself a case of the shingles once trying to hard to embrace the overly hectic life. Sorry, manic mom friends. The truth hurts sometimes. How is it that we got to the point of believing an hour (or day- gasp) of idleness will kibosh a kid’s quest for presidential candidacy down the road?

Life can all too easily become a whirlwhind of unsolicited parenting advice with all of that pressure to scale up, do more, breathe less, sign up for that T-Ball class that teaches Buddism or Mandarin Chinese in the huddle.

And since some of us are in the business of raising kids, we need to remember this. You have to take care of yourself in order to better take care of others. Simple as that. No Superwoman cape needed. Maybe just a cup of coffee.

Now, go get yourself a snazzy headband, gentle breeze, hardback book (you deserve it) and a hammock.

Peace and happy bug watching!

A Belated Thank You Note

band aid2

Date: Better Late Than Never

Re: Thank-You Note

Dear Past Failures:

Please accept my apologies for this belated thank-you note. I honestly had no idea how much gratitude you were due until somewhat recently. This note has been a long time coming. I am a 39- year-old-mother of young children and really had no idea how tempting it would be to try to keep you away from my kids- to protect them from failure at all costs and prevent the ensuing heartache that comes in its wake. It may seem as though I am trying to flatter you- brown nose you OUT of a visit or two. I do admit that you seem to be more tolerable in small doses. In fact, there are days when I bend over backwards, lose the grocery list and my mind, miss important work calls, and rearrange life’s most minute details to make sure you don’t get near my kids. It has taken me this many years to understand how much you have taught me. In my heart of hearts, I know that protecting my kids from mistakes and failures will only deny them the chance to experience the same hardwon lessons. It has taken me years to understand what an invaluable teacher you were (and are) for me and that you will also be an important teacher for my kids- if only I will allow it. I do ask this of you though. Please be kind to my kids and show me how to use you as an instrument for building their character and confidence. It takes courage to be a kid today. Whether being the new kid at school, putting on shin guards for the first soccer game or walking away from peer pressure. Kids face many new frontiers on a near daily basis. If they are never allowed to fail, how will they come to know and believe that they can knock the dirt off their shoulder and try again? Kids don’t necessarily develop confidence and resilience because their parents tell them that they are great (although isn’t that nice to hear from time to time?). They become can-do’ers and try-again’ers because they are encouraged to take on new challenges and given a safe place to land when they fall (or fail). For each achievement big or small- brushing teeth, getting a new Boy Scout badge, sticking up to a bully, or being the MVP- confidence grows. It grows from a place that is not rooted in entitlement, but in faith that failure is not the end of the line. Failure is simply a push-up in the parking lot before trying again. So, Failure, I leave you with this. Thank you. Be kind. Come gently. I am leaving the door open. Teach my children as well as you have taught me.

P.S. Leave Band-aids by the door- a few for the knees and a few for the heart.

Warmly, Mom of the Band

Hide and go Seek

Family playing hide and seek

 Raise your hand if you remember playing intense games of hide-and-go-seek as a kid? I can still see the grass stain on the skinned knees and smell the summer sweat. 

 The childhood contest is a rite of passage for kids. It’s the traditional go-to game for slumber parties, family reunions, and neighborhood barbecues. In our family, the seeking and chasing typically turned into a heated competition. We took that sprint towards the safety of home base very seriously. 

 Adults most likely won’t admit it but are secretly delighted when children ask them to play. It is a rare chance to delve back into the sweetness of childhood- a time when life was as simple as Ready or not, here I come!. Don’t believe me? Watch an adult play sometime. Be prepared to giggle. They pick hiding places that are much too small for them. It is if they have forgotten that the years between childhood and adulthood have added not just inches- but feet- to their frame. 

 Over here at A Girl and Her Band ™, we believe that you are never too old to join a game of hide-and-go-seek with the kids. The next time you see your kids mobilizing for a game, jump in there. It is likely to flood you with a rush of memories of your favorite hiding tree stump, the smell of a honeysuckle bush and the tip-toeing over grass and sticks that crack under foot. 

 Whether you get tagged out at home base anymore will be inconsequential. You are playing out of sheer fun and the best part? You will walk away feeling about five years younger from just having taken a joyful stroll down memory lane.

 Oh, and don’t forget your lucky Band™! We’ve heard they are fantastic good luck charms for finding the best hiding spots on the block. Don’t whistle while you waitJ.