Productive & Present – Is that a Thing?

Today, January 2, 2019 is the likely the FIRST day, that I woke up, and made my child a hot breakfast before leaving for school.

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One of my biggest challenges, with (I was going to say being an entrepreneur) having a career, is ensuring that I am giving my career and my child adequate attention. I’ve had a very demanding career for the last 10 years, and during some seasons, I’ve struggled with taking care of myself, because I was working so hard.

Throwing a child in the mix, shook things up a bit. Today, January 2, 2019 is the likely the FIRST day, that I woke up, and made my child a hot breakfast before leaving for school. Sue me, but she’s been eating school breakfast, for the last 3 years. Burnt out from working late hours and minimal sleep, my goal has usually been, to just get her to school before breakfast isn’t an option!

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Balance has always been a sore topic for me because of work, and without the help of my mom (mostly), I don’t know how I’d do it.  In hindsight, for two years my mom washed and folded my and my daughter’s clothes.  She cleaned my home regularly (and still does whenever she’s here), so that I could have time with my daughter, when I wasn’t working.  Outside of wanting to transition to full-time entrepreneurship, the most pressing reason I wanted to leave my corporate job was because I needed to spend more time with my daughter.  I wanted to make time for the library, homework, or to simply enjoy a meal together.

I’ve had a very demanding career for the last 10 years…

Working and having a child (and family) is challenging because you want to continue to elevate in both arenas.  You’re usually working to be promoted or to grow/sustain your business, and with motherhood, it is an ever-evolving job that requires continuous improvement and adjusting. I want my child to think back on her childhood, and know that she’s been a priority, that I took time to hug and kiss her, and to do meaningful things with her.  My worse fear is that she will grow up to think that work was more important than her.

Over the last nine months, the biggest lesson I’ve learned, is that I have to be intentful and purposeful with my time!  Ninety percent of the time, I work from home.  So I’m still working all day, but planning my day/week/month includes planning time to spend with my daughter. I have set days, that we go to the library.  Whenever she brings books home from school, I make sure that we read them at the dinner table. She gets about an hour to two of TV (mostly educational) every night, while I work, and then we try to get in bed at a decent hour. We pretty much do everything together, and on the weekends I can go really hard with working at least one full day, because she’ll stay with my mom, or her dad.

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There is no perfect answer on how to balance it all.  It requires adjustments, resetting, and effort; effort being the most important! Remember that your journey in business and in motherhood, is your own; and you don’t have to mirror any one else’s!

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Who Runs the World? Serena!

Who Runs the World? Serena!

Intended to be a celebration of a 24th Grand Slam title, and a much-publicized comeback after the birth of her daughter, Serena Williams dominated the US Open final.  This time she did not leave with the Championship title, but she did something much bigger! Serena took a stand against sexism, after being wrongfully accused of a coaching violation.

I watched the video as Serena was nearly brought to tears, defending herself  and claiming, “Every time I play here, I have problems!” Serena went back and forth with the umpire, telling him that he owed her an apology and that she’d never cheat! She further went on to talk about how men had done much worse (than call the umpire a thief) and were not penalized at all.  She didn’t back down, even after the referee didn’t agree with her, she stood her ground against what she believed was right, saying “I don’t cheat to win, I’d rather lose.” Overshadowing the win of 20 year-old Naomi Osaka, Serena did what many women are often afraid to do – take a stand!

I was moved emotionally because it made me think a lot about being a woman, a black woman, and how are emotions are so often misconstrued.  It also brought to the forefront, the double standard where women who are emotional are viewed as weak, or uncontrolled, but an emotional man is considered outspoken and his actions are often overlooked.  Why is this? In an earlier blog, I discussed my experiences with how expressing oneself as black woman is viewed in the workplace.

Finally, I was most moved by Serena explaining to the umpire that she would never cheat, as she had a daughter!  It made me ask myself if and how I take a stand for my child.  How do I as a mother, stand up in a way that gives light to integrity and great character overall? Surely, it’s not by teaching her that she can’t be emotional, nor is it showing her that winning is worth her integrity. As moms, our actions are worth some extra thought and consideration. Not only must we uphold ourselves to be full of integrity, but we must teach out children that character comes before competition.

 

In the book, “The Conscious Parent”, one point Dr. Shelfali Tsabary makes is that we often think of parenthood as a hierarchical role, where we are above our children, because we created them.  He further stresses, that once we lose the idea that we are above our children, it is then that we understand that parenthood is the opportunity to learn from our children as they learn from us.  We are given the opportunity to be better based on what we learn from role as a parent, and the child is made better from what we teach them.

In Serena’s case, her acknowledgement of how her behavior could impact her daughter made me further understand, good or bad, my behavior is not justifiable with the thought that “I’m grown”, or just because I’m the parent. Instead, how I behave should and will be a direct reflection of the character and qualities I instill in my child, because rather I like it not, she’s learning from me.

Boss Babe vs. Boss Baby

I run into women launching new businesses, and looking to advance in their careers all the time, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I can’t imagine how do you do all this, with a baby (or small child)?”. In my mind, my answer is always, “I’m actually better at it, because I have a child.” I am more organized and focused than I’ve ever been.

There is a stereotype of some sort that makes career-oriented women incompatible with being a mother.  Meanwhile, no one is questioning how men with children are able to remain committed to their work. We don’t always discuss or admit, that being a working mom is much different from being a man.  It comes with its own set of challenges (and rewards). At no point, is it easy to try to being a boss mom.  You know how the saying goes, to whom much is given, much more is required!

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Shop til you Drop!

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On a lighter note today, I am going to talk about one of my favorite parts of being a girl mom…a mom in general!  SHOPPING…well DRESSING my daughter, doing her hair, and all things girly!  I’m going to share with where I shop, how I shop, and how I dress my daughter.  This will probably be one of the most easiest and informal post that I make. (Disclaimer: For those who need it…Yes, clothes and appearance aren’t  everything, and YES education is a priority in my household…and God…and family…happy? COOL)

OKAY! Starting with where I shop. I am a bargain shopper! I like nice things at discounted prices! Obviously kids grow super fast, so I am mindful of the amount of things I buy, as well as the amount of money I spend on them.  So, if I had a top three I’d pick Zara, Janie & Jack, and Nordstrom (rack included).  I also like the Saks, GAP, TJMaxx, Macy’s, Target and sometimes Old Navy!  Overall, I am a department store shopper.  I don’t like clutter, I like availability, easy access and, again, GOOD PRICES. Boutiques and overly crowded stores stress me out.  I rarely shop in them for myself, and definitely avoid them for my daughter.  I like to shop at stores that stand behind the quality of their product and I just feel like boutiques don’t…no offense, but if I rip a shirt I got from a boutique, I can forget them being willing to exchange it.  However, department stores and chain retails usually stand behind their brand and products.

So, you’re probably thinking these stores are really expensive and you’re absolutely right.  However, I only buy things on sale…like, SALE SALE.  So this is how I do it.  I shop a season or two in advance.  I know that Zara and Janie & Jack have huge sales at the start of summer and during the December/January timeframe.  Janie & Jack will even offer an additional 20% off the sales price, making prices 70% to 80% off.  I purchase items a size up, and for the next season.  Nordstrom sales are hit or miss, but when you hit, YOU HIT! The same applies for Macy’s.  The GAP also has amazing sales, just about every weekend.  However, I don’t shop there too often because, now that my daughter has real height, their bottoms are too short for her.

I usually never buy “outfits”. I always purchase separates.  This way, I have a lot of options, and we get a lot wear out of everything!  I also stopped buying a lot of “nice” things, because my daughter goes to daycare everyday, and comes home looking rough (kids can be wild)! So I pick a few nice items, and when wear them on special occasions.  Usually school attire is leggings and t-shirts, or athletic wear. I also let her mess up the same couple pair of shoes, because…recess!

Outside of school, I mix and match pieces as I would for myself. Generally, I buy things a size up to maximize the amount of time she can wear them. So when things are a little big, I go for a look that allows for a loose fitting look. Another thing I do is, I keep pants that would look cute as leggings! When my daughter has grown in length, she can then wear a cute capris look.

Finally, I don’t buy things I can’t wash, myself. I refuse to take a toddlers clothes to the cleaners, as my life is busy enough! I could talk about shopping all day! Feel free to ask questions in the comments.

Oh, and for those of you in the Metro Detroit area, don’t forget to join us at the Mom-2-Mom sales, on 8.18.18!

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Accountant turned Corporate Mom!

Accountant turned Corporate Mom!

Parenting is one of the most important and rewarding jobs you can have! Raising a child is hard enough, on its own, but throw in wanting to be successful in your career as well!

I grew up in a single-parent household! Not because my dad was not present, but he passed just before I started kindergarten.  My mom raised my sister and I, alone.  If she dated, I never knew. I never saw her miss a beat, I never saw her put anyone or anything before us. Not a job, a man, a hobby…anything! My mom was, and still is, a hairstylist! I can vividly remember waking up on Saturday mornings and hearing her blasting gospel music, and talking even louder to her clients.  She did hair in our home, and often times, I’d go stand right beside her and just watch!  It came to a point where I’d even start doing hair myself, and when my mom had surgery on her hands (she had carpal tunnel), I’d even take some of her clients on.

One thing that my mom enforced was a great education, for my sister and I!  We went to public schools, but always attended the best schools, schools of choice! There were no free summers, in our household! Not one!  We did camps, college prep programs, and whatever else she could find for us!  I can remember my mom coming to my schools, and talking to my counselors about getting into special programs.  Often times they’d tell her “You’re about a year too soon”, or “Wait until high school”, and she’d apply anyway!  I was often times, involved in academics programs way before my time!

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“YOU BETTER CHECK YO SELF BEFORE YOU WRECK YO SELF”

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How many times have you observed your child doing and/or saying something, and asked either aloud or to yourself, “Where did you get that from?” Perhaps, too many times to count.  I probably ask myself that three or more times a week. Ironically, a little voice in my head started to answer the question, saying, ‘She got it from you!’

Children make the best mimics, as every parent soon learns. It’s hard to admit, but the fact remains, kids get most of their habits and behaviors from what they see in their environment. And lets not forget our three-letterfriend… D.N.A. That stuff is amazing. I catch my daughter doing things EXACTLY like me, its like looking in a mirror. Something as simple as her sleeping position; I sleep on my side with the palm of my hand touching my cheek, and my knees bent towards my chest, (mad specific right J) well, she sleeps in the exact same position, literally.

From the moment I found out I was having a daughter; I felt a weight. Accountability. One of the many reasons I was hoping for a boy is to avoid the responsibility of raising a LADY. My plan to let my husband do the hard part of disciplining and teaching a man to be a man, completely failed, as soon as I heard the words “It’s a girl!”

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Nurturing a daughter in the environment that is 2018,(that’s a whole other topic, we’ll have to discuss in another blog post) is without a doubt difficult. I remember very clearly being a teenage girl and a young adult… I just knew I had life figured out; and this was before Nicki got Minaj became a prototype, and ‘influencer’ became a job title, and I still managed to give my mother a run for her money. It wasn’t until I had a kid at twenty-six, that I started to realize how selfish and inexperienced about life I truly was. Which brings me to the point of this post… “Check yourself, before you wreck yourself!”

Having a daughter was the biggest, most significant, and monumental self-revelation I could have ever experienced. She makes me look at my insides… the parts that matter most. I quickly realized that whatever I want her to be, I must first be a reflection of that myself. As much as we would like for our kids to do as we say, and not as we do, it just doesn’t work that way. Figuring out that my baby really just wants to be like her mom was the biggest wake up call of my life. I had to check myself, and I mean quickly… I encourage all parents, Moms AND yes Dads too, to be the first reference for your child. They learn most of what they know from you, and although having a human shadow can be exhausting and downright difficult… think of how rewarding it will be to watch your child become the best parts of you.

Now, don’t get it twisted for one second, by no means have I become a perfect person for the sake of being a parent. I still curse too much, scroll Instagraminstead of reading a book, and have to tell my baby, “No, you can’t have what’s in Mommy’s cup, its adult juice!” probably much too often; however the awareness that someone is always watching me, that I’m her personal superhero… has changed my life. I’m a better wife, a better friend, and a better daughter. I give more, take less; talk less, listen more; eat more spinach, and less ice cream;smile more and complain less… all because of my sweet baby girl. Since I’ve already given you sound advice from the icon Ice Cube, I’ll leave you with the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  J

Peace and Love

-Chardonnay