WOMAN, MOTHER, POWERFUL WOMEN IN HISTORY

WOMAN, MOTHER, POWERFUL WOMEN IN HISTORY

2021 BLOG SERIES- WOMAN, MOTHER, WOMEN IN HISTORY

First off, I want to talk about Women’s History Month. How many women of influence can you think of from your own life? I feel fortunate to have more than I can count. Admittedly though, my mind went to those powerful women making a BIG splash publicly in the world both now and in history.

I love following Sara Blakely, for instance. So inspirational and oh yeah, just happens to be the youngest woman self-made billionaire and founder of Spanx. She’s pretty amazing! 

How about Serena Williams or Dawn Staley in sports? Inspiring and strong figures for young women to admire.

Then switching gears to powerful women as authors and public speakers… Brene Brown, Glennon Doyle, and Coach Dar. Check, check, check. In fact, I love their impact and encouraging messages! 

Recently though, a post on LinkedIn caused a shift in me. Marcie Wibright shared the story of her daughter working up the ranks within FedEx and into a management role. Furthermore, she is the youngest and first female manager in this space. Shattering her own ceiling. However, likely not something you are going to see on the nightly news. In contrast, definitely something to be celebrated! 

This post was a bit like a smack over the head… I thought to myself: 

Don’t forget to celebrate the powerful women who may not be making headlines but are still taking little steps every day to their own big dreams. And in fact, inspiring you.

In turn, this made me reflect on one very particular powerful woman in my history. My mom.

G-I-R-L, would I give anything to be able to interview her for this blog post.

The interview unfortunately can’t happen since she passed in 2007. Even so, I decided for this month, I would do my best to share some of the advice I feel like she passed on to me in the 28 years I was able to have her HERE as my Mom.

POWERFUL WOMEN

My sister and I often talk about this first point. Empowered women empower women.

It’s never dawned on us that we COULDN’T do or be something. In fact, it’s kind of a little disturbing when women (or men for that matter) say they can’t do something. WHAT?!

Feeling empowered is a quality so engrained in our DNA, it’s actually quite shocking when someone says otherwise.

On International Women’s Day, I saw a lot of inspirational posts with the quote:

Here’s to strong women: May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.

Wow! I am so very fortunate to feel I was raised as one, by one. 

For the record, I am not saying this without acknowledging I have heaps of self-doubt sometimes I have to work through. Above all though, I KNOW within my heart of hearts I can do whatever I put my mind to. Even with trembling knees and a shaky voice.

This empowerment came from my mom. Why? Because she never doubted. Externally that is. Yes, there were expectations of being a lady (said with an eyeroll and sarcastic tone) and manners, etc. However, the confines of what “women should do” both personally and professionally were not present.

After college, I set off into the world of sports as an occupation. My mom admittedly did not understand WHAT the role was, but that didn’t matter. She was excited for me to dive into a new adventure. Even empowered me to feel I could achieve whatever I set out to do.

I have no doubt she was cheering me on from the pearly gates as I made the leap from an almost two decade corporate career into entrepreneurship. “Yep, you can do this if you put your mind to it Heather. I have no doubts.” 

I don’t remember a time in my life ever NOT feeling empowered to figure it out.

In short, empowerment led to being empowered.

POWERFUL WOMEN- CHOOSE TO CHALLENGE

Last week, I attended the Indiana Sports Corp celebration for International Women’s Day with the theme Choose to Challenge. Throughout the entire presentation, I couldn’t help but think of my mom.

While this goes along with feeling empowered, Choose to Challenge simultaneously feels like its own topic. We can be complacent about our circumstances. On the other hand, we can do something about it.

Bi***ing for the sake of bi***ing has no place. Absolutely, you can vent sometimes, but at the end of the day if you aren’t going to take action… your venting is just noise.

If you don’t like it, take action.

I can think of so many examples where mom didn’t like how a situation was playing out. Never once do I remember complacency. Maybe she instinctively knew her life on this earth would be cut short so there was no time to stand still.

On the other hand, maybe this was also engrained in her deeply as well. Whatever the reason, make a move. Take action.

This wasn’t just through talk either. She walked the walk. Being of service to others. If something needed done, she wasn’t known for just standing around while people discussed it. She MOVED. Constantly.

In my mind, choosing to challenge can come in a lot of forms. Whether it comes to challenging the status quo of women, standing up against racism, serving others through community support, or whatever drives you as a human, Choose to Challenge.

Don’t just gripe to gripe. DO something.

You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.

– C.G. Jung

POWERFUL WOMEN SUPPORT OTHERS

Additionally, my mom had great friends. In fact, from all walks of life and all different periods too. This was way more influential than I realized in the moment.

Modeling a behavior of supportive women surrounding themselves with supportive women.

Because of the support they showed each other it became something I sought out in my own friendships without even realizing it.

Someone once told me, “never trust a girl with no girlfriend or a guy with no guy friends. There’s a reason no one is surrounding them.”

I’ve yet to find a scenario to disprove this statement.

When you support others, they support you in return. Find your people. And don’t be afraid to keep finding your people. Some are there for a particular season while others are lifers.  Without a doubt, both necessary.

In addition, encouraging other women doesn’t take away from you and your success. Seeing someone else succeed and being truly happy for them is energy that feeds you. This, I learned from my mom. Jealousy and bitterness have no place in our heart.

“Get over that shit.” 

My mom had a potty mouth at times. It was entertaining.

POWERFUL WOMEN HAVE FUN

“Don’t take yourself so seriously.”

While I didn’t grow up in a particularly monetary wealthy family, we certainly always had a wealth of fun. This I attribute to my mom’s steadfast belief in always greeting someone with a smile. As well as this… life is short, have fun.

When she passed, the newsletter write-up about her for the Purdue History department where she worked read, “we in the department will always remember her infectious sense of humor, vivacious personality, and welcoming smile.” 

She loved everyone until there became a reason not to. And then she still loved them but from a distance.

She was known to write funny scripts for everything from Share-The-Fun 4-H skits to athletic banquet entertainment sketches. Poking fun at everyone and always turning a gathering into a festive occasion. Her welcoming spirit was a true testament to her love of people and fun.

SUMMARY- POWERFUL WOMEN

My mom didn’t pass away with a bunch of accolades or making the news about her impact to women in history. However, reading Marcie’s LinkedIn post last week was a great reminder of my own mom’s influence as a powerful woman.

There are amazing figures both currently and in history making a significant mark in our world. Even so, don’t forget about the ones you may not read about in the news but are nonetheless having an impact on you. 

I’ll leave you with some key take-aways from my mom. 

First, empowered women empower other women.

Second, find your huddle. Choose to challenge when it’s important to you. And don’t take yourself so seriously.

Finally, you get to choose what your legacy will be. Don’t take this responsibility lightly.

Thank the women in your own history who have influenced you. It’s time to celebrate all of those accomplishments whether they make the history books or not. And then, go take action towards something you believe in.

 

The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.

– Tony Robbins

 

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WOMAN, MOTHER, JOYFUL ENTREPRENEUR

WOMAN, MOTHER, JOYFUL ENTREPRENEUR

2021 BLOG SERIES- WOMAN, MOTHER, JOYFUL ENTREPRENEUR

Have you ever met someone and instantly felt more joyful? As if an indescribable aura has wrapped you up in peace. With this in mind, I introduce you to Adenike (pronounced Add-A-Nikki) Makinde. This month’s The Mom Huddle spotlight in WOMAN, MOTHER, JOYFUL ENTREPRENEUR

We met a few months ago through a Linking Indy Women networking event. Even in a virtual format, Adenike’s presence gave off the feeling of joy and inclusion. Although in the virtual world we find ourselves in, our group of five was able to dive in deep and swiftly. Sharing thoughts and feelings creating an immediate connection and wonderful conversation.

Upon my second meeting with Adenike, I have now put my finger on why. It’s her warmth and approach to life. In fact, she draws you in. Furthermore, living up to her company’s appropriate name, Joyfully: Career Strategy & Confidence Coaching.

As I thought about who to interview for February, the idea surfaced for a minority business owner who is also a mother. I remembered the LIW encounter with Adenike and without a doubt, knew this was my February person. Not only did she NOT disappoint, but I was additionally awestruck by her approach to life, motherhood, business ownership, and more.

APPROACH- WOMAN, MOTHER, JOYFUL ENTREPRENEUR

First off, I go into each of these interviews with no agenda and very few prepared questions. While this may seem like an odd approach, I truly enjoy the process and just seeing where the conversation takes us. Furthermore, it keeps me from focusing too much on a particular outcome for the article. Instead, it ends up being just the message I didn’t know I needed to hear.

I say this because what Adenike said almost immediately struck deep.

We were discussing how to instill in our kids a sense of direction and purpose. Not forcing them down our pre-conceived notion of success, but rather how to make them mindful in decision making. This is when Adenike dropped the knowledge on me.

“We bring stuff into our lives because it’s what we expect. I just always rejected the idea.”

To paraphrase… we create our reality through what we expect.

For instance, parents go into the teenage years expecting rebellion and trouble. And just like a self-fulfilling prophecy, those same parents find themselves with teenagers in rebellion and trouble. “We bring stuff into our lives because it’s what we expect. I just rejected the idea.”

Lightbulb.

If you take nothing else from reading this article, think about that statement. Although made in relation to raising her children, it quickly became apparent this is a foundational belief for Adenike.

Before you think this was a very rose-colored glasses approach to raising teenagers, Adenike was quick to point out, yes, there were times of rebellion and trouble. On the contrary, that did not make up their entire teenage years. The label created for the time period with her kids was multi-faceted. Not summed up by a couple of negative adjectives.

I pressed on with this discussion intrigued by the approach of rejecting the idea.

FOUNDATION- WOMAN, MOTHER, JOYFUL ENTREPRENEUR

Adenike has two children. Admittedly, not so much children as now young adults. Caleb, a 19-year-old college student with big dreams and an even bigger heart. Mikayla, a 17-year-old high school senior destined for leadership.

Adenike (Woman Mother Joyful Entrepreneur) and her two kids taking a selfie

Adenike, Mikayla, and Caleb strike a pose. Joyful motherhood moment!


Foundation is key. For Adenike and her family, their foundation is God and a loving spirit.

“I have never felt as though I had to figure it out on my own. God is always there and if I lean on my faith and love, everything eventually works out.”

Watching the pride with which she spoke of her children and their very real and deep conversations, I found myself wanting to immediately implement her suggestions for getting to this point with her kids.

First, keep God in your heart.

Second, come from a place of love with your energy.

And finally, invest in your kids.

For their family, this investment consists of regular Saturday morning conversations to check in. Creating the space to talk about life and share on a deep level.

Whereas, there is a time for discipline. On the other hand, there is also a time for allowing your children the space to learn and grow. She was able to strike this balance with regular “adult” conversation. Above all, learning who they are as people by listening and caring. Subsequently, showing interest in what they had to say as they processed their own thoughts and feelings.

She reminds her kids all the time, “this is the job God gave me to do. I know my job as a parent.” Even though Caleb and Mikayla may not always agree with her, they respect the logic behind this.

MARTYRDOM

We next shifted our discussion to the notion of martyrdom in motherhood.

Whether through their own upbringing or being too tied to social norms, along the way a lot of mothers have created a story. This story includes the mother being a martyr figure in the family. We tend to think this is what we should do.

Be everything for everyone. Put even some of our most basic needs to the side under the ruse of being what the family needs.

This stress of obligation, however, has had an opposite effect.

“Our kids do what we model. Model what you want your kids to look like.”

Instead of coming from a place of, “I can’t do ___ (fill in the blank) because of my kids,” she suggests flipping the script. “I need to do this because of my kids.” Invest in yourself.

Stress in motherhood is not an obligation. Analyze it. Figure out what the stressor is and address it. There is no room for martyrdom once you actually address what is going on.

Again, go back to her first point, “We bring stuff into our lives because it’s what we expect. I just rejected the idea.”

JOYFUL ENTREPRENEUR- 2020

What Adenike gained from 2020 was the perspective of her business shift. Joyfully went from being her business to now being a platform.

“It’s not just business. I have the freedom to be myself. I know I can utilize the business as a platform to fulfill my calling. My first calling was to be a parent. My second calling is helping people.”

She works with her clients to shift from sick and tired to peace and purpose. Creating a sustainable and feasible plan with personal values at the core. It should come as no surprise mindset shifting is a key element to her coaching style.

Starting her own business was key because she wanted to be able to help people the way she had it in her own heart, not through a pre-created program through an institution. This drive took her from a corporate career three and a half years ago into business for herself.

She described the moment she went from burnt out and unmotivated in her job to engaged and excited about her work. It came down to the epiphany of knowing she wanted her own business. Excitement and momentum to a future she hadn’t been able to put her finger on until she invested in herself with coaching, praying, and journaling.

MOTHER- 2020

Adenike is a woman of color. There is so much going on in the world in addition to the pandemic having an understandable and emotional toll for this demographic. I was astonished by her mindset and approach once again to all of the perceived hate going on in the world.

“I told my kids; you can’t control another person. Be aware of what is happening around you, but you can only take on so much. Guard your heart. And if you are out there talking in the world (social media), you better be prepared to take action, not just be noise.”

Additionally, her messaging to her kids throughout this political and racial turmoil had two key elements. First, keep God in your heart. Second, bring your energy from a place of love.

She even went back to her original foundation belief of, “we bring stuff into our lives because it’s what we expect. I just rejected the idea.” Ensuring she and her family remained above the hate. In fact, expecting people to be kind and come from a place of love. Not pulled into the energy zapping of it all because it’s what was expected.

SUMMARY- WOMAN, MOTHER, JOYFUL ENTREPRENEUR

Adenike’s ideal client is a woman who has had enough life and work experience to know themselves. As a consequence, they have hit the point in their journey where they question if they have completed their purpose on Earth or if there is more to their story.

It’s where she found herself a few years ago. Instead of choosing to be a martyr and continuing down a path not entirely fulfilling to her, she chose joy. Seeking out mentors. Reading. Praying. Giving herself space and time to recognize the shift in her purpose. Then, pursuing her dream.

Her amazing approach to life not only rubs off on her clients but also is visible in her children through their actions. Recently, her son told her during a Saturday morning conversation while home from college, “I’m so glad you raised me how you did. There are some crazy people out there.”

I then asked if her son could be a mentor to my own sons. (I mean, seriously, why not right?!)

Find your joy. Focus on your joy. And resist the urge to bring negativity, hurt, and hate (stuff) into your life because it’s what you expect. Reject the idea.  

Thank you Adenike for being an aura of light in the world even when it can feel very dark. Your love and grace are contagious.

 

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.

– Maya Angelou

 

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WOMAN MOTHER TEACHER

WOMAN MOTHER TEACHER

2021 BLOG SERIES- WOMAN, MOTHER, ???

First and foremost, I’m excited about this 2021 blog series! The Mom Huddle was created to share our collective journeys. With this in mind, this month we’ll highlight a WOMAN, MOTHER, TEACHER.

Not only is The Mom Huddle a platform for stories, but also serves as a way to create understanding. A sisterhood. On one hand, we won’t always agree. On the other, I believe this is where understanding and growth happens.

When we hear someone’s story and find pieces of ourselves in it, we also find appreciation. Furthermore, we learn and grow.

Enter in Mrs. Jacqueline Miller, our January spotlight. Woman like us. Mother like us. A teacher like only some of us. (To be clear, not me… can you say E-Learning failure?!?)

Woman Mother Teacher- Mrs. Miller shown with arms full of bags walking into school

Who can relate to this look? Carrying ALL THE THINGS! Mrs. Miller headed into school for the day.


As I contemplated who made sense for the very first blog in this series, relevance was key. TEACHER continued to float to the top of this list. Mrs. Miller then quickly came to mind. Not only as a teacher AND a mother, but also as one of my boys’ favorite teachers from elementary.

In short, meet Jacqueline Miller.

WOMAN – MOTHER – TEACHER

Jacqueline and her husband, Brett, have two sons, Hudson (5.5 years old) and Camden (almost 3). She also currently teaches second grade.

Here is what Jacqueline had to say about being a woman, mother, teacher, wife, daughter, ALL THE THINGS… oh, and let’s throw in a pandemic.

What has this last year been like for you?

Interesting… (said with chuckles, laced with some exasperation!)

Less than a week after Camden’s second birthday party, the world shut down. It was shocking obviously! Without a doubt, the first week was ROUGH.

Anyone else relate?!?

We found ourselves completely out of routine. Uncertainty. Absolutely running the gamete of emotions in a very short amount of time.

Then came the routine. “We walked the dog DAILY without fail.”

As she shared their rain, shine, snow mentality of sticking to their daily walk, I immediately pictured the postal service motto! “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night…”  

Then I noticed a pointed shift in how Mrs. Miller described life in the early days of the pandemic:

“We focused on enjoying the little moments.”

The bus lot near their home became an exciting walk-to destination for the kids to see all of the buses.

This made me laugh. I remembered back to when preschooler Jake (now almost 12) LOVED buses. The sight of a bus elicited squeals of joy from the backseat. So much so, in the car despite being BY MYSELF, I pointed out a bus. “Oh look! A bus!!” Yep, the little moments stick with you.

The firehouse also became a Miller adventure destination. Including a guessing game of how many fire truck doors would be open.

In general, slowing down life and NOTICING. Recognizing a beautiful sunrise and discussing all of the colors with Camden.

Not something we typically make time for in a morning of running from point A to B to C in the rat race, is it?

How did the boys do with the uncertainty and routine disruption?

Hudson called COVID “the germs.” They are both really good about wearing masks and understand it’s done to keep others safe. Their grandparents especially.

As an educator, I knew the importance of routine for the boys. Days starting with screen time ended in DISASTER. Applying the slow start method in the morning at home worked just as well as it does in school.

For those like me, not in the know… slow start focuses on games, puzzles, blocks, and interactive play without the use of technology. In the school setting, it’s utilized to teach children to interact and learn to play together. Additionally, giving students a chance to ready themselves for the school day.

I’m guessing this may be a giant ah-ha moment! It was a great take-away for me as well.

TEACHER – MRS. MILLER

As we switched gears from family to career, my admiration grew more than I thought possible. Like a lot of you, I hear the amazing work teachers do day in and day out. Conversely, I admit, I don’t give it enough attention.

In the humblest way, Mrs. Miller shared not just about teaching. In fact, our conversation was very little about the teaching itself, but rather more about the other hats worn. I will tell you; it elicited a lot of conflicting emotions from me.

“Teaching has become so much more than just teaching.”

In general, teaching is now about developing the whole child, not just the educational piece.

First, have they been fed? They cannot learn if not. Additionally, she shared stories of saving unopened food waste from lunches and sending home with kids who do not have enough. Bringing in extra snacks and ensuring a supply of food for kids once they leave school. Even delivering lunches during the pandemic to those in need.

Second, where is their mental health? Observing without bias and ensuring she is not overstepping while simultaneously supporting.

Third, do they have appropriate clothing? She now has a stash of clothes for not only homeless children but also for any child showing up with shoes too small or ill equipped for cold weather.

Did you notice we haven’t even gotten to math, reading, or science yet?

Hence my mixed emotions of admiration, sadness, and even some outrage over the necessity of this.

PANDEMIC TEACHER

What is the biggest difference in teaching during the pandemic?

Teachers are really good at multi-tasking. For instance, flipping a child’s book to the correct page while passing by and simultaneously reading to the entire class. Scanning the students as the course work is being delivered and watching for signs of confusion or lack of understanding.

These elements are lost or a lot more difficult to manage when class is on screen.

I attended a Zoom the other day with adults. Some weren’t muted and didn’t realize it. Others were clearly not paying attention and then asking for the messages to be repeated… MULTIPLE times. They were adults. Can you imagine the herding of cats it is having Zoom class in elementary?

Mrs. Miller’s pandemic focus was to work very hard to still giving each child a personal connection. Time on the Zoom for them as well as personal messages on their assignments, for instance. All of this goes above and beyond a typical day when teaching in person.

She mentioned in the beginning of the pandemic assigning more work for the kids. Then realized the sheer volume of trying to give students personal messages on EACH assignment wasn’t sustainable. Adjusting course as needed has been a constant theme for the year.

Another adjustment came in the form of headaches. Staring at a screen all day instead of moving around a classroom was something she didn’t see coming.

Woman Mother Teacher- Mrs. Miller with mask on teaching to students in class

Mrs. Miller is happy to be back in person with the kids. The classroom looks a bit different than a normal year though.

CHALLENGES- WOMAN, MOTHER, TEACHER

What has been your biggest challenge personally during this time?

Not being able to see family in person despite knowing the reason why. Undoubtedly heart wrenching.

What has been your biggest challenge professionally during this time?

Empathy exhaustion. There are so many things going on in addition to the pandemic.

To name a few, witnessing families struggling because of the work from home and the school from home situation they find their family in. A constant juggle altogether.

Then witnessing the Black Lives Matter movement and wanting to support those emotionally affected.

Next, watching families already struggling financially further complicated by the pandemic.

Subsequently, you want to be everything for everyone. As a result, it becomes overwhelming and exhausting. In addition, I want to be aware of my own implicit bias and be mindful when making decisions.

BALANCE- WOMAN, MOTHER, TEACHER

We started to talk about balance not only in a normal time, but especially during the pandemic. She was given advice by a mentor that has stuck with her over the years.

You don’t want to save the world and lose your own.

Remembering this message of maintaining a balance of personal life and professional boundaries served her well in the normal as well as the abnormal of late.

She also acknowledged her partnership with her husband, Brett, parenting as a team. Brett is the best cook and does most of the cooking for the family. This allows her playtime with the boys after school instead of jumping straight into household duties.

It’s all about the kids until they go to bed, then we prep for the next day and do some work.

What do you do for self-care?

Hallmark movies! (with a chuckle) With all of the craziness in the world, they are good stories and you know how they will end. It’s low pressure and entertaining.

As the kids get older, she would also like to get back to the gym, but we also laughed about the work-out it is to have little kids. Hudson had 5 THOUSAND steps in two hours running around the house one morning wearing her FitBit.

Pretty sure Jacqueline is getting her steps in just fine chasing them around!

We also agreed the shift in parenting moves from a physical toll to a mental one as the kids age. A weird adjustment for moms when this shift begins! 

SUMMARY- WOMAN, MOTHER, TEACHER

What advice would you give to other parents about this time both as a teacher and a mother?

When we look back, we’ll be so grateful for the extra time spent together. Sometimes we get caught up in ALL of the moments, but a few special activities are what the kids are going to remember. In short, enjoy the little moments.

As Camden says, “look at the pretty sunrise!”

I thoroughly enjoyed talking to Mrs. Miller. Getting another perspective on not only what is going on right now in the world for our kids, but also a general snapshot in the life of a teacher. How often do we forget our teachers are often mothers too? They are preparing not only their own children for the world, but ours as well. Clearly in many more ways than just math and reading too.

Thank a teacher. In fact, figure out ways in which you can support them. Mrs. Miller said she LOVES volunteers in the classroom in addition to donation support.

“Someone always needs something.”

We undoubtedly know this as mothers don’t we? Now imagine a classroom full of kids!!!

Thank you to Mrs. Miller and to all of the educators out there. We in The Mom Huddle appreciate YOU!

The duties of a teacher are neither few nor small, but they elevate the mind and give energy to the character. – Dorothea Dix

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STOP THE EXCUSES: HAVE FUN AS A COUPLE

STOP THE EXCUSES: HAVE FUN AS A COUPLE

LET’S HAVE SOME FUN!

Jeremy and I started a tradition 10 years ago and it’s absolutely one of my favorite things we do for fun as a couple. KNOCK IT ALL OUT IN ONE DAY, CHRISTMAS SHOPPING DAY DATE! Shopping for your date may not seem like fun as a couple (I get it! I don’t enjoy shopping typically), but hear me out…

On one hand, I enjoy the check the box nature of this day. We start the day with a plan. (Insert giggles for those who know how we operate!) For instance, we know where we are going, who we are buying for, a general idea of what we are buying, and we go.

On the other hand, it’s a day together. A common goal. No kids. Furthermore, Jeremy is part of this WITH me, not just the signature on the from tag just as surprised as the receiver upon opening.

We have a fun lunch out with a few adult beverages and then back to it. Did I mention no kids?

Typically, we drop them off at school and GO! As a result of virtual school though, we ALMOST cancelled.

ALMOST.

Even if we only needed one gift, WE WERE DOING THIS DAY DATE. (Said with a toddler foot stamp of stubbornness!) This is definitely OUR day and COVID, virtual school, a pandemic, none of that shit was going to get in the way of this tradition. NONE.

Hence, we did what any parents wanting to stay sane in the midst of a pandemic do. Obviously, we left the kids at home to virtual school themselves and continued with our day date tradition.

#winningparenting

WHY HAVE FUN AS A COUPLE?

I laughed at my insistence about this day. Why was this such a big deal? Since you asked, I’ll tell you. LOL!

Having fun as a couple is so important and frankly it gets lost sometimes in the busy-ness of life.

In addition, we are admittedly bad about making it a more CONSISTENT priority. Just like Goonies never die… well, Lowey Christmas shopping day dates never die!

Our kids are in a lot of activities and without a doubt, we love it. Even so… we STILL need time for ourselves.

The actual carving out of time though is TOUGH. Although we’re in a pandemic, this week alone there is not a single night free. NOT ONE. Ironically, I thought there was one night, but then got the latest tournament schedule and bam, gone.

To be clear, I’m not mad about it. In fact, I really do love it. Conversely though, the activities make it that much harder to get quality time in for fun as a couple WITH NO KIDS PRESENT.

Yes, my friend, this is key. Harder, but notice I didn’t say impossible.

When is the last time you made having fun as a couple a priority?

There are three reasons you may have stopped prioritizing dates.

First, money.

Second, time.

Third, over or under thinking it.

With this in mind, let’s explore.

MONEY- FUN AS A COUPLE

Obviously, I don’t think too many of us would argue with having a fancy dinner out once in a while. On the contrary, if you think this has to be THE weekly or even monthly fun as a couple I’m talking about, you are wrong.

Here are suggestions I received from my huddle for FREE (or inexpensive) ways to have fun as a couple:

  • A bike ride (warmer months preferred!)
  • Put the kids to bed and have a game night
  • Snuggle on the couch and watch a movie WITHOUT YOUR PHONES
  • Go to one kid’s sporting event WITHOUT your other kids
  • First, feed the kids a frozen pizza and settle them in for their own movie. Then make your own dinner together. In contrast to your normal menu, try an involved recipe making you both feel like Guy Fieri!
  • Run errands together! Instead of being hustle and bustle, make it a fun as a couple activity to accomplish together. Who doesn’t love a good checklist? (me, it’s me…)
  • An evening walk in the neighborhood to just talk
  • Go for ice cream or have a coffee shop date and just sit and talk
  • Hold hands
  • Hug for 60 seconds. I actually read this in an article. Chest to chest hug for 60 seconds. It’s awkward at first! Like a conversation you don’t know how to end. Even so, there are great benefits once you get beyond the awkward!
  • Barter babysitting with another family once a month. They get a night out. You get a night out. Kids get TWO playdates in one month. I call it a win-win-win.

Don’t let money be a hinderance to having fun as a couple. At some point, it’s just another excuse.

TIME- FUN AS A COUPLE

Before kids and even when the kids were little, Jeremy and I used to periodically play a game of Scrabble in the evening. Definitely funny because I’m actually a terrible speller. I didn’t win very often (ever).

I bring this up because I can’t tell you the last time we played an evening game of Scrabble. However, I CAN tell you the last time I scrolled through my social media of an evening and completely lost an hour in the time warp that is Facebook and Instagram.

Hmmm. Time? Ah snap.

Prioritize. We love to use time as an excuse. And yes, when you look at your schedule and the calendar is overwhelmed with activities, it can FEEL as if there is no time. Absolutely.

Nonetheless, is there something you do mindlessly, like a Facebook scroll time warp, which can be replaced with some fun as a couple for just one night a week?

OVER OR UNDER THINKING IT- FUN AS A COUPLE

If the fun as a couple statement makes you feel uneasy, maybe even some guilt, you likely fall into one of two categories. Over thinker or under thinker.

The over thinker of date night has BIG, GRANDIOSE plans for the fun as a couple. Not only a fancy dinner out and maybe a hotel stay, but also kids with amazing plans of their own.

Reel it in sister!

Undoubtedly, you can do this, but not every week has to be a scene from a Sandra Bullock movie.

Or maybe the over thinker feels guilt over spending time as a couple and it “should” really be family time. STOP.

First off, I’m sure you have more quality time with your family than you give yourself credit for. In fact, we’re all our own worst critics.

Second, spending quality time as a couple is healthy for everyone. Don’t believe me? Check this out.

Next up, the under thinker. In short, you downplay the importance. Or say things like, “we do spend time together.” However, is it QUALITY time together?

I’ll give a personal example. We have certain shows we watch together as a couple, but I can assure you the focus is not on the US part of it. Computers, phones, books, something else always out while watching the show. WAY less present in this moment than we would be if we consciously made plans.

If I can admit this, so can you. Any of this sound familiar? Quit being an under (or over) thinker about fun as a couple.

FUN AS A COUPLE TRADITIONS

Traditions can play a big part in your fun as a couple too!

For instance, here are two more traditions we like to do together in addition to our Christmas shopping day date.

First, a good theme party and we’re in! Our tradition with friends from college for a themed Christmas party every year is a crowd favorite.

Fun as a Couple- 80s theme party outfits for Heather and Jeremy

80s Theme Christmas Party- Jeremy never disappoints!


The montage of costumes is fantastic. Themes such as Rock N’ Roll, Christmas movies, 80s, you name it, we’ve likely done it. One thing I love about this tradition is how the guys get just as into the costumes and figuring out something outlandish to do as the ladies.

Sadly, 2020 got in the way of this tradition dating back to at least 2003, but 2021 WILL BE EPIC!

Give us a theme party, Jeremy will even “sacrifice” and grow out a moustache for the event. (insert giant Heather eye roll)

Fun as a couple- Rock N Roll outfits on Heather and Jeremy

Rock N’ Roll Christmas!


Next fun as a couple activity tradition, CONCERTS!

Unquestionably, 2020 has been a tough one for our concert going. A big void in the Lowey fraternity house fun FOR SURE. We cover a wide genre of music, too.

Find us at Neil Diamond, Imagine Dragons, Red Hot Chili Peppers, cover band of Billy Joel and Elton John, Guns N’ Roses, Lumineers, just to name a few.

The craziest adventure out of all of these? Neil Diamond. I know, funny right? We even tee-peed our friends’ house on the way home from this concert.

#winningadulting

SUMMARY

While we have some fun traditions, frankly we could use some work on the regular/consistent portion of having fun as a couple. How about you?

And while I’m what we categorize as the over thinker of date night, 2021 will be the year of making the week to week fun as a couple FOCUS a priority. Traditions are great, but only come around a few times of year.

In short, start small. Additionally, be consistent.

At the end of the day, we have to remember to have fun as a couple. For real. We all put WAY too much pressure on trying to ADULT a certain way. In my opinion, OVERRATED!

Now, go make it a priority to have some fun… together! I know I will.

This year my husband and I set a weekly Wednesday date night. Whether it’s a fancy dinner, a bike ride, an escape room adventure, or eating way too much Chinese food on the couch in our pajamas, it’s a scheduled time to connect. I look forward to it every week. I am consistently reminded of why we chose to do life together which brings joy to our marriage, our parenting, and life in general.    -Tanya Finkbiner

 #lifegoals

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GOALS AFTER 40, REALLY?

GOALS AFTER 40, REALLY?

MIDLIFE CRISIS

Today I got on the elliptical and plugged in 4-1 for the last time as my age. Tomorrow marks the start of a new year on this planet for me. Another trip around the sun. I’m now approaching the “in my 40s” language, not the “I’m just 40 or 41.” Semantics… maybe. Even so, a TOTALLY different vibe nonetheless.

Despite this, I can’t help but reflect back on the last two years. The years some would term my midlife crisis, as it can be for so many when hitting milestone birthdays. It should be noted, I didn’t buy a red corvette, get a bunch of plastic surgery, and leave my husband for a 20-something surfer in California I met online.

Nevertheless, I made some BIG life changes. Arguably some of the boldest decisions I’ve ever made in my life. I quit my job of almost two decades. Not only was it my ONLY career, but also had become so much a part of me, my identity was absolutely lost within it. In addition, I left this job without a plan.

While clearly some people do things like this, for the record… I do not. Conversely, I have a plan for the plan with at least one back-up plan.

I don’t jump out of airplanes without a parachute. In fact, I don’t jump out of planes PERIOD.

So, what are goals after 40, really?

THE PLAN- GOALS AFTER 40, REALLY?

First, I started writing. I honestly have no idea why, but it just felt right. Second, I put myself out there with a blog. Absolutely one of the top 5 scariest moments of my 41 years and 364 days on this Earth.

Full disclosure, I had NO IDEA what I was doing. Arguably, I still don’t. On the other hand, I find myself in this weird place of being comfortable with the uncomfortable. With age apparently comes some lack of GAFs about vulnerability.

I, without a doubt, recommend you try it!

Even so, I enjoyed the writing and thought it might just be the platform a career-driven mom needed because Lord knows I did. So, I jumped. I even contacted Linking Indy Women about writing their blog in a liquid-courage moment one evening. Now I’m their monthly re-cap blogger. WTH?

Next, after some additional self-reflection, I took another leap and enrolled in a program to become a certified coach. Undoubtedly, an interesting sidestep from Sports Marketing and PR, but what the heck? Why not?!?

About 5 months into the program, it became apparent to me I really wanted to do this on my own. Have a business. Be an entrepreneur.

WHAT???

Yes, this realization really threw me for a while.

40- One could argue it was the age suddenly giving me different perspective on what I wanted out of life. On the other hand, one could say I finally came to my senses and said, “enough is enough, I’m going out on my own!” Whatever the case, I did it.

Furthermore, I’m telling you this for one main reason. I have not a single regret. None. Zero. Zilch. Conversely, ask me this two years ago when I was less than a month away from my leap out of the airplane and I likely would have faltered.

“I think this is the right decision, but I’m sure there will be things I will regret or wonder why I did them.”

Nope.

YOUR GOALS- 40 OR NOT

Let’s turn the microphone over to you at this time. We’re approaching the end of the year. Historically a time people all over the world look at life and hit a much-deserved reset button. Subsequently, even set New Year’s resolutions or fresh, new goals.

Company goals unquestionably get discussed, but also personal metrics are analyzed. Maybe you decide if you are on the “right” path or need an audible.

What is the big decision you are mulling over? Is there an unsettling feeling you just can’t get rid of, but at the same time you aren’t making any moves or adjustments?

Maybe you’re scared. Maybe it’s easier to talk about what you WANT to do. But if you START, in fact, take even one step… it becomes way too real.

Guilty.

Well my friend, take the leap. Jump out of the airplane. Parachute or not, go.

It’s totally cliché but I don’t care, it’s a great quote. As the hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

If you want accountability, support coming up with your plan, tips on overcoming blocks to achieving your goals, and more, I’ve got your covered! Not from a place of, “this is what you should do” or “this is how I did it.”

We’re all unique individuals, have our own lens through which we view life, and need to take steps in our own time and in our own way.

THE RIGHT TIME

Even so, what I do want to share with you is this. There will never be a right time.

Think about when you were contemplating having kids. I remember Jeremy and I mulling over what was the right time for kids. When would we be ready? Finally one day (in a very Yoda fashion), he said, “I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to say I’m ready. Are we ever really ready for something like this?”

Wise 29-year-old Jeremy quote right there. LOL.

Actually, if we’re doing this like Yoda, it was probably more like, “Ready, one finds themselves never.” (you did the Yoda voice didn’t you?!?! LOL.)

But for real. Right time + Ready = Never.

Full disclosure, it took a miscarriage for us to realize how excited we were about the possibility of having kids. But that’s a story for another day.

Regardless, you don’t have to do this alone nor do you have to feel ready. But at the same time, don’t miss the shot simply because you didn’t take it.

I’M “READY,” BUT HOW?

For now, I’ll leave you with this. Spend some time over the next four weeks brainstorming. Write down all the things you think you want to do or achieve, no matter how outlandish they may seem to you in the moment.

Easy my friend. SLOW DOWN THE NERVES. You aren’t signing on to do them, it’s just a brainstorm. Get your mind open to possibilities, even the crazy ones. Think about these eight areas of your life:

  • Personal Development
  • Spiritual
  • Fun & Enjoyment- SO OFTEN WE DISCOUNT HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS!
  • Relationships
  • Health
  • Finance
  • Career
  • Family

Next, think about your satisfaction in each of these areas on a scale of 1-10, 10 being highest. Finally, what would need to happen to move it up one notch on your satisfaction scale?

See what I’m doing? Small steps. Repeatable changes. But the whole thing first starts with figuring out WHERE you want to go.

If you don’t know exactly where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?

– Steve Maraboli

GOALS AFTER 40, REALLY?

Happy brainstorming my amazing friend. Until next time, let your mind roam in the infinite possibilities out there for you. But promise me one thing. You will allow yourself to dream!

One question I often ask clients, “what would you tell your daughter or your son if they were in your situation?”

Stay unfulfilled but safe.

Don’t chase your dream, it’s too big.

At 40, you are too old to be thinking of making this kind of change.

Obviously, you see how ridiculous this sounds. Nonetheless I ask you this, why are you doing it to yourself? If you come back at me with excuses like time, money, obligations, spouse, kids, lack of clarity, etc., etc., I’m going to challenge you.

That’s right. Excuses are like… well, you know the stinky reference I’m making here.

The point is, our minds have been trained to protect us. Keep us safe. That’s great for things like a bear attacking a cavewoman. Not so great when we feel unfulfilled but find ourselves too scared to make changes. We also get caught up in thinking about the end result and how it seems SO FAR. Guess what? It probably is REALLY far. But if you stay stagnant. Furthermore, not changing even one little detail in your life by the next year. I can promise you this. You are going to find yourself exactly where you are at this time next year.

Yoda: Unfulfilled find yourself you will. (I couldn’t help myself!)

Dream. Brainstorm. Take some time to contemplate what it is your subconscious has been trying to tell you for a while now.

Who knows, by the end of this, we may all be convinced to jump out of that airplane… with a parachute of course.

 

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.”

– Nido Qubein

 

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THE INNER MEAN GIRL

THE INNER MEAN GIRL

INNER MEAN GIRL

A portion of my job is to support people through mindset shifting. Admittedly, the irony is not lost on me that sometimes, I myself, need to simply LOOK IN A MIRROR and adopt this concept. Let’s talk about the things we say to ourselves. More specifically, our inner mean girl.

I read in my 100 Days to Brave book this morning an excerpt on speaking kindly to yourself. To be honest, this is like the fifth time the effect of our inner messaging has popped up for me in the last week. Clearly the Universe is trying to tell me something. Because of this, I sat on it for a while this morning. Then I started to write.

We likely could all use a little dose of putting the inner mean girl in her place. For instance, I recently had surgery on a herniated disc in my neck. (Yes, the cover pic which I’m SHOCKED I am letting out in public… yikes!) I promise the surgery not quite as dramatic as it may sound. Even so, my inner mean girl was ON FIRE after the fact.

MY INNER MEAN GIRL

Everyone has their own topics their inner mean girl can’t seem to let go of. Mine typically centers around weight and probably more specifically body image.

I can’t work out for at least 6 months, so as you can imagine, my inner mean girl topic for discussion…

BODY IMAGE

She first started in on what surgery would mean for any progress made in the exercise realm recently. Second, she pointed out how she could literally FEEL my arms and belly getting bigger as I laid there in the hospital bed. (I told you, she’s not very nice!) Then the “little b***h” began attacking my business and questioning my foot off the throttle for new clients while in recovery.

“Rest? Get your butt going, you have clients to talk to,” she demanded.

Funny how quickly I forgot the SHE was in fact, ME. Ouch.

Nonetheless, I kept wondering what the “speaking kindly to yourself” message smacking me in the face over the last week meant. As a result, I think someone else out there needs to hear this:

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Your thoughts and feelings, as well as the little inner mean girl trying to tear you down, it’s normal. Furthermore, just like me, maybe you are needing a dose of medicine for your inner mean girl, too.

What does she like to point out to you? Motherhood shortcomings. Of course, she does! And probably in the weakest of moments too. Career woman issues and trying to climb the ladder, be a “good wife” (whatever that means), and be all the things we “should” be? Yep. Body image thoughts? This Girl Is On Fire! And no, not in an Alicia Keys song kind of way either. Ugh.

Mine? Oh yes. All of the above. She doesn’t like my arms, my toes, my thighs, she’s frustrated with my mid-section of late. Her messaging in the mirror even on days when I do wear make-up and put on something other than tights or yoga pants (hello quarantine?!?!) has not been kind. Additionally, she even attacks my motherhood skills or lack thereof. Check and check.

Is she right? Maybe at times. I bet you didn’t think I was going to say that!

I’m not going to lecture you on a message of “love yourself exactly as you are in every moment.” It should be noted, I don’t think this approach creates growth. Of course, you want to love yourself. However, SOMETIMES, we need to take a good hard look at the inner voice and see what she’s trying to tell us. The catch is, balancing the truth in the message as well as how we let it affect us versus challenge us.

The inner mean girl is just the mask. Under the mask of the mean message, maybe, just maybe, there is a more important message to unearth.

BALANCING THE INNER MEAN GIRL

I’m an instant gratification person. How about you?

Frustrated when the internet is slow? Check.

Triggered by kids and want them to behave IMMEDIATELY? Check.

Take the inner mean girl message at face value? Check.

How often do we face the mean girl message and think it through? I’m probably at a zero out of one hundred average in the last week alone. You too?

So, let’s chat about it. Body image messaging for me is typically not as loud when I MOVE my body. Ironically, it doesn’t have to be a long run or a really tough workout. In general, when I move (walk, work in the yard, busy day of errands and house chores, etc.) it equates to me feeling better.

With this in mind, it makes a lot of sense my inner mean girl was on fire as I lay in a hospital bed for about 24 hours straight. She’s trying to remind me, albeit in a not very kind way, body movement is key for my sense of well-being. When I don’t have this, my mental state is a slippery slope of pointing out ALL THE THINGS wrong with me physically.

And while my arms and belly likely weren’t growing at a rate where I could physically SEE this (um, gross), the thoughts in my head manifesting the physical feeling is understandable. Irrational on some level? Of course. However, thinking it through makes me understand my inner mean girl wants me to move because she knows I’m going to feel better.

With this rationale, are we then able to manifest positivity if we have the ability to manifest a negative feeling? I’m thinking YES.

Heather Lowey- Inner Mean Girl quote- thank, question, challenge her, Move on.

Let’s start with this… What is the first thing you said to yourself this morning?

MANIFESTING POSITIVE FEELINGS

Who grabbed the phone first thing this morning and started scrolling? If you answered yes, I’m going to scream this through your screen:

STOP IT!!!!!!!!!

Terrible idea. I don’t like to tell people what to do, (okay, my fraternity house would disagree) but I’m ripping off the band-aid… Not only is it a bad idea, it is a TERRIBLE idea.

Three reasons:

COMPARISON, SHAME, WORRY

Why didn’t I get up and work out this morning?

What am I doing to wear THAT bikini to the beach?

When is the last time we took family pictures and all coordinated outfits?

What did my loved one post that I don’t want to be associated with?

Enter in the inner mean girl and BAM, our morning is shot before our feet even hit the floor.

Add in some kids rushing around for school and no coffee, well frankly, it’s not going to get any better.

Why don’t my kids listen to me?

I just yelled. Geez, I’m a terrible mother.

We have all this s**t to do tonight. I don’t know if I’m coming or going. I SHOULD be appreciative of all we have but I’m so freaking tired and annoyed!

This negative self-talk continues for the day and by the time you are home in the evening with your take-out and feeling guilty, the night continues to spiral. Um, hello- NO WONDER!

AFFECT OF SPEAKING KINDLY TO YOURSELF

Consequently, I have an idea for you to try.

Gratefulness exercise. I know, maybe you read this with a giant eye roll, but hear me out. Additionally, I PROMISE I’m not trying to add more s**t to your already full plate. Nope. Not only is this one easy, it also creates a shift in your mindset.

The minute you wake up in the morning, despite the habit, don’t grab your phone. You can either continue to lie in your bed or do this on your walk to the bathroom. Think of three things you are grateful for. That’s it. 3 things. To clarify, they don’t have to be big, crazy things either. 

For example, here are mine from this morning:

First, finding the perfect spot in my bed and realizing it was only 4 am so I still had a couple more hours in THE PERFECT spot. You know what I’m talking about, right!?!? The perfect softness, firmness, temperature, all the things. Just right. Man, it’s great!

Next, my son, Jake, being so helpful and happy last night. (He is pre-teen and the emotional roller coaster is LEGIT!)

Finally, a day with fewer calls and obligations so I could do some writing and planning.

Ladies (and gents), I am telling you, THIS creates a shift in you. Maybe not day one or even week one. Nonetheless, when you know you are going to wake up in the morning and have to think of something you are grateful for, your mind automatically looks for things. You re-train your brain to be on the look-out for POSITIVE things. Simultaneously, you move your head from negative self-talk to speaking kindly to yourself.

Energy flows where attention goes.

 

– Tony Robbins

#truth

SUMMARY- INNER MEAN GIRL

We all have the inner mean girl. Even when you re-train your brain, she’s likely going to find something else to give you flack about.

However, what if you took a little time to shift? Acknowledge what the inner mean girl is trying to tell you. There may be a message under the mask of mean if only you break it down.

Then you shift. Moving to a place where our brain automatically LOOKS for the positives. A life of practicing gratefulness and empathy once we understand this inner voice maybe just wants to be heard.

Give it a try. I’d love to hear how this process or an evolution of this works for you. We can work with our inner mean girl and shift her from a bullying voice, to someone looking out for our well-being.

Finally, don’t forget the little voice is YOU. When you peel back your inner mean girl, what are YOU trying to tell yourself?

 

Step away from the mean girls… and say bye-bye to feeling bad about your looks. Are you ready to stop colluding with a culture that makes so many of us feel physically inadequate? Say goodbye to your inner critic, and take this pledge to be kinder to yourself and others.

 

Oprah Winfrey

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