I Committed a Woman Breadwinner Sin This Morning… (Read Time: 3 min.)

Starbucks 1ralphs picYup, I did… committed a woman breadwinner MAJOR NO-NO this morning…

On a regular basis, I remind my woman breadwinner clients to do three things:

1) Create joy by creating time

2) Create time by delegating tasks

3) Delegate tasks by creating rituals, schedules, and routines that offer both efficiency AND fun

Each client is different and we’ll do that in a different way.  However, one of the core things I say often is: “Don’t get sidetracked during your day!”  Don’t… as in don’t get sucked into going to Wal-Mart to spend $5.00 and come out having spent 2 hours and $300.00.  Don’t meet your friend for a cup of coffee when you know you deserve some ME time, thinking it will be 30 minutes and wind up going to JoAnne’s Fabrics with her and helping her pick out new curtain prints for three hours.  Don’t decide to do a mini-clean up of the house for 15 minutes and, three hours later, feel further behind in work and more pissed off at family than you needed to be if you’d just left the living room messy.  Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t…

And so what do I do this morning?

Drop the kids off at school thinking, “I’ll just run to Ralphs and pick up a few groceries… Quick stop.”  Uh huh… A Ralphs, Starbucks, put gas-in-the-car because the car was on E, lug groceries in the door hour later, I’m home with coffee, groceries, and gas but I just lost an hour of my life that could’ve been used elsewhere… Yes, I’m lecturing myself right now.

Bottom line:

Efficiency creates time and time creates space and space creates a life you love to look at.  Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

And when you mess up, like I did today, sip your Americano, write a blog post, and begin again 🙂

Thank God for Starbucks!

Women Breadwinners & Gratitude: 5 Reasons Your Husband was Sent From Heaven (Read Time: 6 min.)

couple 13According to my blog editorial calendar, this post was originally going to be called “Why Wishing You Were Single is a HUGE Mistake” and I was going to spend the time talking about why the “whether or not” decision of “Do I stay married or return to being single?” is such a bad way to position the struggles faced in your marriage.  And then, as always is the case, the Universe presented me with this beautiful video about love… (check the video out here–> http://www.youcantbeserious.com.au/blog/finding-love/) which then brought me to this extraordinary website about gratitude… and a few clicks and blogs later, I came to a post written by Dr. Cory Allan (he has a course called “Blow Up My Marriage”- Check it out here—-> http://blowupmymarriage.com/) giving 3 tips to help you relate better with your husband (interesting & practical; check it out here–>http://simplemom.net/3-tips-to-help-you-relate-better-with-your-husband/).  All of this internet browsing and it dawned on me that even in a moment of serious marriage reconsideration, it’s imperative that we, as women breadwinners, get back to a state of gratitude.

Change rarely comes from judgment but miracles always come from gratitude.

So… if you’re having a day where you want to pack a bag and run away to a deserted island or you are so frustrated with something that your spouse said or did that you feel like delivering a supreme verbal tongue lashing, BEFORE you go there (and regret it later), join me on a journey and rediscover 5 reasons your husband (even if he didn’t fold the laundry properly or forgot to wash the dishes or didn’t go to the parent/teacher meeting) was sent from heaven:

1) He is an expert at appreciating and handling your particular type of crazy.  Yes, I said it.  We all come with a particular type of crazy.  Control freaks, perfectionists, messy, sarcastic, anal retentive, over-the-top optimism or down-in-the-dredges pessimism, we all have our baggage and the spouse at your side has done a fabulous job of WILLINGLY handling your baggage.  Whenever you think the grass is greener on the other side, stop and ask yourself, “Who else could handle my crazy as well as he does?”  The answer: not many.

2) He’s man enough to support your taking the lead on things (some things, most things, hopefully not EVERYthing).  A man is a man when he can take a backseat in major life areas and not feel his manhood threatened.  Does that mean you’re married to a puppy dog who sits at your feet and says “Yes, dear” 24/7?  No… I do not know of one relationship where that’s the case and if you’re in one, be careful.  Men don’t like to be married to their mothers and wives don’t like to be married to their sons.  Eventually, we all grow up and a man who’s a boy in the relationship will wind up growing up and looking for what he considers a WOMAN (not a mom).  And that’s a whole other post.  What I’m saying is simple: Appreciate the fact that he knows you run the show (in certain areas) and he still feels like a man and actually enjoys your level of power in the relationship.  I heard one woman breadwinner say that her husband calls her his “sugar mama” and they both laugh at the idea.  Laughter, in a relationship, is a good thing.

3) He’s a master at household management and activities you’d REALLY rather not do.  You don’t have to go shout to the world that your husband is a whiz at laundry, cooking, and waxing floors nor do you have to make a public declaration that you hate all things domestic but let’s be real: if you’re a woman breadwinner, it is probably not your dream life to spend all day cooking, cleaning, washing dishes, decorating the house, and doing all things housewifery (I just made a word up).  Own you and appreciate the fact that you married someone who does the things you’d prefer not to do.

4) He knows how to have fun and keep it light.  Very often, my clients tell me that their husbands balance them out.  They are the driven, ambitious, workaholic types and their husbands are more laid back, more fun, and more appreciative of down time.  In this way, their spouses become the personal compass for “Hon, it’s time to rest…. Why don’t you take a break?  Let’s go do something fun.”  When you’re a person who loves to work or who goes 100 miles a minute, you need that type of person in your life.  What better person to fulfill that role than your spouse?

5) He loves you for who you are and has no desire for you to be somebody you’re not.  One of the big resentments I see surface in women breadwinners who don’t like their role is this: Why can’t he just be the provider?  Why can’t he be the one dealing with all the financial pressure?  Why can’t I be one of those women who married a co-breadwinner, a doctor, a lawyer, someone who’s got ambition and drive just like I do?  Be careful what you ask for.  While not all equally driven, ambitious, overachieving men are the same, take a moment and reflect on what it takes for you to be that way.  How many hours a week do you devote to your career?  How much work has it taken you to get where you are?  Now, if there were TWO of you having to put in all that time into your careers and work, what would be left for togetherness, fun, playtime, having children, raising a family, taking care of a home, doing laundry?  Yes, you could hire maids, nannies, and housekeepers but what if that’s not the life you want?  Also, sometimes, when you marry someone who’s on the same kind of fast track you’re on, they expect a certain kind of wife.  They might expect that when their career hits a peak, you’ll quit your career to support theirs.  They might expect that the moment you have kids, you become a stay-at-home mom and that’s the end of your career until the last child goes to kindergarten.  They might expect that if a great job offer comes up across the country, that you’ll clearly see the importance of his career and give up your job to move across the country.  These are all speculations but rarely do two overachieving, ambitious, highly driven people come together (before they get married) and have an honest, frank conversation about their expectations of each other.  There’s a yin and yang to all relationships.  Be grateful that you’re with someone who gets your yin and provides the yang, a person who isn’t expecting that you’ll sacrifice your career, your dreams, or your life for their ambitions.  Can you get that in a co-breadwinner marriage?  Sure but expecting that both of you will be CEOs of corporations and will have all the time in the world to build a life together (without the help of nannies, maids, housekeepers, and the like) is a bit unrealistic… even Sheryl Sandberg talks about the choices that you make when both of you are highly driven and top earners.

At the end of the day, every relationship brings with it opportunities to feel grateful.  But you’ve got to choose gratitude over complaint.  You have to choose to see the good rather than what needs fixing.  Your ability to appreciate what you have comes from your desire to see the beauty in your life and the joy in your relationships.  Until you are willing to see the good in what is, you will continue to look for what’s missing… in yourself and others.  Don’t do that.

Love what is.  

Life’s always better that way…

Woman Breadwinner By Default: How to Handle the Resentment (Read Time: 7 min.)

couple 8You married who you thought would be Prince Charming… and you wound up with a frog.  He’s not as strong as you thought.  He’s not as smart as you thought.  He’s not the provider you expected… and you now find yourself in the role of breadwinner (probably still doing the laundry and cleaning the house and tending to the kids) while he takes it easy, enjoys his life, and has learned to tune out your nagging.

Sound familiar?

There are many situations where the woman breadwinner marriage works beautifully.  Both partners know their roles and own them.  Both partners see contribution in terms of equity, not equality and appreciate it.  Both partners love their given roles and wouldn’t trade it for anything.  And both partners have bad days (or bad months) where they wish things were different but still suck it up and keep it moving… and find the gratitude and joy in it.  I’m a woman breadwinner in a 2nd marriage.  Can you tell which marriage I felt resentful in?  Yeah, #1 was the test.  Marriage #2 was the eyes-wide-open sign up for this journey.  At the end of the day, I coach a lot of women breadwinners who come to me and say, “I’m pissed off that I’m in this situation!  I didn’t sign up for this!  He has to step up!  It’s not fair that I have to do EVERYTHING and he can sit in front of the TV and play X-Box!  Why won’t he just… (fill in the blank)?”

They are SEETHING with resentment, filled with a deep anger and contempt for the person they married…

and they don’t know what to do about it.

So… if your resentment is real and you aren’t happy with the breadwinning role you’ve been thrust into, here’s what you’ve got to do to change things:

1) Get over the resentment.  See resentment for the self-poison it is and OWN the fact that you CHOSE him.  Period.  It’s not pretty.  It’s not fair.  It’s simply the truth.  There may have been few signs that he would end up this way but I guarantee you the signs were always there.  The honeymoon stage of first love blinds us to character flaws and personality defects that, after years of marriage, we can no longer ignore.  This disillusionment happens in ALL marriages and it doesn’t mean you’re heading for divorce but before you can give the relationship a fighting chance, you have to get over your resentment.  Nothing he does or will ever do will make you feel any less resentment for what’s happened in the past.  You have to alter your resentment.  Nobody can do that for you.  How do you do that?  Look for the gift in the situation and accept responsibility for changing the situation.  In other words, see what this breadwinning role has taught you about your strength, your talents, your ability to handle pressure and stress.  Be thankful that you’re not living in some third world country where women are barred from holding positions of power, where sex trades exist and little girls are still treated as nothing more than cattle (and, yes, that still happens in the United States).  Remind yourself that you have rights and power and abilities that, in some places, you’d never be able to have.  Find the gift of your role.  Find the lessons of your experiences.  Feel gratitude for all of it and make yourself focus on what works about the role no matter how hard things are financially or emotionally.

2) Have THE TALK.  Once resentment has left the building, you need to sit down with your spouse and have “THE TALK.”  In other words, you need to communicate your unhappiness in the relationship, what needs to change, why it needs to change, and come to the table with ideas about how it could change.  Remember: this is a collaboration, not a confrontation.  Your word choice and tone of voice will dictate how this conversation will go for you.  Keep in mind that if he’s not open to change, doesn’t think anything needs to change, or likes his cushy role and feels you deserve to do all the heavy lifting in the relationship, you’re at an impasse and you only have two choices: 1) Make it work as it is or 2) Make a different choice.  I would not be the person to ask about Choice 1 because when I was confronted with this situation, I went for Choice #2 and would do it again if I had the experience all over again.

Remember:

We teach people how to treat us and

the primary tool of teaching is our actions (talk is cheap).

3) Make your actions fit your words.  Once you’ve made your needs known, discussed options and solutions, it’s time to enact a change of behavior… from you.  If he won’t pitch in with the laundry, don’t do his laundry.  If he won’t go out and find a job, take the X-Box out of the house.  If he won’t help the kids with homework, make sure he does everything for himself ON HIS OWN.  In other words, if you’re getting no help from him in meeting needs you have clearly discussed and asked for help on, you need to withdraw the extra help you’re giving him so you can practice extreme self care and fulfill your needs on your own.  If you do this consistently enough, he’ll either get the message and change, get fed up with the situation and leave, or continue doing the same things and suffer the consequences of not having a maid/housekeeper/personal assistant at his beck and call day and night.  Oh and if he isn’t engaging in the financial management side of the marriage, remove ALL extras from his budget.  In other words, if he isn’t willing to contribute or to discuss, then there’s no reason he needs the extra car, motorcycle, boat, bike, cell phone, and anything else that isn’t of basic survival necessity.

To many of you, this will seem like an extreme tactic.  But this is an extreme case.  I’m not talking about husbands who are at home doing the leg work with the kids (carpooling,  budgeting, cooking, cleaning, fixing up the house) or the partners who do whatever it takes to help their breadwinning spouses feel heard, seen, and cared for (back rubs, a shoulder to lean on, making sure dinner is ready and available, setting the bath, etc.).  I’m talking about those partners that are married to women breadwinners but REFUSE to work in any, way, shape or form while insisting to live like kings.  I can clearly say that that relationship, with its absolute lack of reciprocity, will not work out.  So… choose your path wisely.  Contribution does not have to be monetary but for a marriage to thrive, it does have to exist.  Period.

If you’re navigating resentment and need help figuring out what to do about your marriage, check out my book, CHOOSE YOU, NOT DIVORCE.

–>CLICK HERE TO BUY THE BOOK ON AMAZON<–

Choose You Not Divorce

Women Breadwinners & Career Change: Climb, Transition or Quit? (Read Time: 5 min.)

 woman 2Woman breadwinner… Who gave you that role?  Who keeps you in that role?  What could easily erase that role?

One answer: Your job.  

Maybe it’s your career.  More than likely, it is your profession.  Is it your calling?  Your vision?  Your grandest purpose for your life?  Probably not… And, yet, you do it.  You do it because it pays the bills.  You do it because it feeds, clothes, and provides a roof for your family.  You do it because it’s what you know how to do well and it’s what keeps you in the current lifestyle you’re accustomed to.

But what happens when the job you do is killing the dreams you have?

How do you make a decision about changing, altering, or erasing a part of your identity that is the requirement for your family’s survival?

The answer most women breadwinners stuck in a career rut choose is this: You don’t.  You stay in the job.  You do what it takes to pay the bills.  You put your big girl panties on and keep it moving.

That might last until your youngest child graduates from high school but, at some point, when you’ve done status quo until it annihilates your soul, what you discover is that you hit a breaking point where you can no longer do what you do, be who you are, and still truly exist.

Your career unhappiness affects EVERYONE around you.  

It hampers every relationship.  It slowly chips away at every dream.  At some point, if your joy is going to be a mainstay in your life, you’re going to have to make a few major decisions about your career (even when you love your career) and, usually, those decisions revolve around one of three options:

Climb? Transition? Quit?

Livelihood, salary, and compensation are critical factors in the life of a woman breadwinner.  If you’re a software engineer earning $250,000 a year and you absolutely hate it, going into work tomorrow and quitting may not be an option.  On the flip side, if you’re a teacher who adores her fifth grade class but your business analyst husband lost his job six months ago and your teacher salary can no longer carry you, your husband and three children, something about your income earning potential has got to shift.  No matter what the situation, women breadwinners are far better off making PROACTIVE career decisions than reactive ones.

If you’re at a crossroads in your career, here are three key questions to ask yourself before you choose either of the three alternatives:

ALTERNATIVE 1: Climb (move up within the company)

1) What career paths are available to me at the company I work for currently?

2) What steps would I have to take in order to move up the corporate ladder?  Would the time and energy investment I’d have to make into these steps be worth the outcome?

3) How can I reality-test my fit for a different position?  In other words, can you shadow a person who currently has the role you’d like to take on?  Can you get a mentor who’s already climbed the corporate ladder and meet with him/her thirty minutes every other week?  Is there an additional role within the company you can take on to “try out” the position you’d be moving towards?

4) How financially stable is my firm?  If I were to move up in the company and get laid off at a later date, would the experiences I gained in this new role make me more viable to companies outside of my current organization?

ALTERNATIVE 2: Transition (change careers/fields)

1) How much exposure have I had to the field/profession I’m looking to go into?  How can I reality test my fit for this position?  If you’re  moving from being a police officer to a doctor, have you interned or volunteered at a hospital?  What experiences can you take on before making a massive commitment to completely change gears in your career?

2) What will be required to fully make this career shift?  Will you need to get an additional degree or certification?  If so, how much will that cost?  How much will you have to pay?  How much time will you have to put in to get those things done?

3) What will it take to get you to the same or a higher salary in this new field?  If you’re a neurosurgeon deciding to become a writer, what’s your plan for making up for the salary lost in the process?  How will you downsize your lifestyle or add additional streams of income to compensate for any lost wages as you make the shift?

4) How willing are you to start over?  When you jump from one career to a completely different one, it often requires starting from scratch which includes working in an entry level position for entry level pay.  Given your family dynamics and your monthly budget, is this something you can afford to do?

ALTERNATIVE 3: Quit (quit a job you hate, one that is sucking the life out of you)

1) What has your current job cost you?  Be specific about the tangible costs of staying in your current position.  Have you gotten carpel tunnel syndrome?  Adrenal fatigue? Depression? Anxiety? Has your eye sight gotten worse?  Did you gain 80 pounds?  Be clear on the what this job is costing you.

2) How much longer do you feel you can stay at your current position?  At all costs, you don’t want to get so fed up that you wake up one morning and quit.  Having an exit strategy is always the best way to go.

3) What is your ideal exit date?  What kind of exit strategies can you start using to make sure you’re out of the company by this day and time?

4) If you had to stay at this company, what could you do to improve your experience of it?

5) If you had a choice between staying on your current job or working for a company that paid much less but had a better working environment, what would you do?

At the end of the day, the best decision you can make about your career will come from four steps (what Dan and Chip Heath call the WRAP Process in a book they wrote called “Decisive”):

1) Widening your options

2) Reality testing your assumptions

3) Attaining distance (i.e. giving yourself time to reflect and consider)

4) Preparing to be wrong (knowing that no decision is permanent and that you can choose a different path at any point you choose)

Be sure that you complete each of the four above-mentioned steps and then (no analysis paralysis) DECIDE AND DO… It won’t be easy but it will be worth it.

Relocation? Stay or go? (Read Time: 4 min.)

path 1One of the biggest decisions a woman breadwinner will ever make is whether to relocate her life, her family, and, oftentimes, her career from one geographic location to another.  As she moves up the corporate ladder or grows her business to an extraordinary place or experiences major life transitions like death, divorce, or financial devastation, relocation becomes an option that will have to be evaluated.  So the question is:

Stay or go?

Once that question goes out, what most people do is this: they weigh the pros and cons, write down their options, look at scenarios based on “best case” situations, assume they have all the information they need and make a blanket decision for the option that, from go, was the choice they wanted to “be right” anyway.  It’s clear why having a narrow focus or zeroing in on the option you want won’t work: it eliminates too many possibilities that could offer a more optimal solution than the one you’re looking at.

When deciding a relocation, here are three questions you can ask yourself to break out of a narrow frame and truly evaluate your options:

1) With the amount of money that I’ll be allocating to living expenses every single month, what would be the best usage of that money? This question widens A LOT.  A- You’re not looking at rent/mortgage allocation alone.  You now have a set amount of money that you can spend in ANY way you want and you might now see that if you moved to a cheaper place, you’d spend less on rent and mortgage and could now funnel the extra cash into a hobby, a new business, having more fun, or putting more money away for retirement of savings.  This opens up a very different world of possibilities where you can evaluate the options of how to spend the money, not simply whether or not you move.

2) If I could no longer relocate to the places I’m considering AND I couldn’t stay where I am, what else could I do?  Dan and Chip Heath (in a book called Decisive) identify this as The Vanishing Options Test.  It forces you to come up with new options, to look at different alternatives, and to get out of the mode that says, “There are only two or three ways I can go here.”  The moment you ask “What else…”, it opens up possibility.

3) How can I have BOTH?  Sometimes, people want to live in a location because of the weather or the activities or the hustle and bustle of the city but that might be counter to the need for a great public school system or the peace and quiet of a rural area.  When you start to look at how you can have BOTH, you begin to multi-track, i.e. look for ways to combine alternatives so you fall in love with the decision you wind up making.  Wavering between two alternatives is usually a sign that you don’t love either of the choices.  Keep searching and the best of both worlds eventually appears.

The most important thing you can remember about relocation is this: it’s NOT permanent.  You might think that you’re moving to a particular place and you’re going to have to stay there the REST OF YOUR LIFE.  Do a little research.  You’ll quickly learn that most people relocate across states and across the country MULTIPLE times in their lives.  You are never stuck, never held back, and while your zip code might be indicative of your lifestyle and your sense of self worth, it is not something that you must hold so fiercely to that you give up peace of mind, joy, and openness to change in order to have it.

Remember:

You can have BOTH… 

5 Decisions You NEVER Make Alone (Read Time: 4 min.)

School 7When you get faced with a major life decision, how do you respond?

Excited? Nervous? Curious? Stuck?

As a woman breadwinner, you have a lot on your plate.  You’re constantly making decisions, whether it’s about the project at work or what to cook for dinner.  By sheer experience, you probably top most people in the ability to navigate, decide, and implement solutions.  But, when it comes to major life decisions, choices that you know will impact the people you love most for a VERY long time, how do KNOW that you’re making the “right” choice?

Therein lies the problem… you don’t.  In fact, all of the analysis paralysis in the world will not guarantee that the decisions you are making are the decisions that are best for all involved… including you.

So if decisions can’t be made perfectly, how can they be made well?

By using a solid decision making process.

In July, I will be teaching a 12 week decision making boot camp called BE DECISIVE! (Check it out here: http://kassandrabibas.com/get-decisive-.html).  In that course, I’m going to talk about a solid, strategic decision making model that will simplify decision making while producing MASSIVELY EFFECTIVE results.  If you’re having issues in the area of decision making, you’re not going to want to miss it!

One of the first things I’m going to teach in BE DECISIVE! has to do with knowing the biases or villains of decision making that impair your ability to make good choices.  There are many of them but four are truly sinister.  In the same way that there are biases to decision making, there are also key life decisions that we must NEVER make alone.  For women breadwinners, there are 5 that are subtle but deadly.  If you make these decisions alone, you are setting yourself up for drama, frustration, and, worst of all, resentment.

For the rest of this month, I’ll be blogging about each of these five decisions and how to avoid framing the options and making the decisions alone.

For now, let’s identify the 5 decisions you NEVER make alone:

  1. Relocation: Whether it’s across town, out of state, or to another country, the decision about whether to move an ENTIRE family cannot be done in a vacuum.  I’m sure there are those reading this post who will say, “Duh Kassandra.  Everybody knows that.”  Talk to enough people and you’ll find that most people suffer from “walk their talk syndrome”: they KNOW what to do but they don’t DO what they know.  Relocation is a prime example of that.  Most people get that you need buy-in from all members of the family to have a successful relocation.  Most people make the decision without buy-in and pay the consequences of resentment, anger, and discord later… once they’ve moved and unpacked all of the boxes.  Relocation is too big an issue to decide alone.  Don’t do it.
  2. Career Change: Women breadwinners, by definition, carry the bulk of the annual household income.  ANY changes to a woman breadwinner’s career has a massive impact on the entire family.  Before deciding to take a job that will double your pay (but also double your travel time), more than one person needs to be involved in that decision.  Before you decide that you’re so burnt out being a lawyer that you want to quit, go back to school, and become a teacher, you need to do some reality-testing of your assumptions, seek out role models, and interview former lawyers who’ve made a similar transition and have been there-done that.  Before you decide to go back to school full time to move up in your career, there needs to be a family meeting about how everyone will support the 20+ hours a week of study time that you won’t have available to complete the tasks you’ve always been responsible for.
  3. Marital Status: Before you decide the honeymoon is over and you want to call it quits, there are many people that need to be involved in that decision making process, the most important being the other person in the relationship.  I’ll dive in to this when we get to that post towards the end of the month.
  4. Having a Baby: Sperm banks with anonymous sperm donors whose specimens you pay for are an entirely different situation from cajoling a spouse into having a baby that he isn’t ready for or doesn’t want.  The same applies to the reverse.  Coercing a breadwinning wife to have a baby that she’s not completely sold on is NEVER  a good idea.  Bringing a life into the world is NOT  a decision you make out of fear, anger, or insecurity.  Far too often, it’s exactly that.  There’s a better way.
  5. Financial Priorities: This area runs the gamut (from creating the monthly budget to debt management to retirement planning to buying a house or a car to how much you spend online).  Even if the woman is the only one bringing income into the home, there needs to be more than one person looking at the financials and engaging in the discussion of what to do with the money that comes in.  Without more than one voice, the decisions being made are, oftentimes, the result of a number of decision making biases (most esp. the narrow frame).  Financial success comes from financial wisdom.  Involve more people in the process, you get more wisdom (caveat: choose people who are good with their money, #justsayin).

There they are: the 5 decisions you NEVER make alone.

In the next post, I’m going to dive into the issue of relocation.  

Should we?  Should we not?  How can we make the best decision possible?  

Join me on Friday!

What to do when Mother’s Day hurts… (Read Time: 3 min.)

be kindIn my last post, I said I was taking a break… before it dawned on me that this Sunday is Mother’s Day and I have entirely TOO MUCH to say about women breadwinners and Mother’s Day.

So… how is it possible that Mother’s Day could hurt?

It’s a happy, joyous day honoring the women who gave ups life and the mothers we’ve become.  Until I experienced it in my own life, I never knew that Mother’s Day could hurt.  I had my first child right after Mother’s Day and, up until that point, my idea of a hurtful Mother’s Day was my baby not being born in enough time for me to celebrate my first Mother’s Day ever.  Oh what it is to be young and naïve…

Fast forward ten years and you have the first Mother’s Day I spent without my children.  It had been a previous year of drama, child custody battles, and shifts to the point where I spent a solid three years of Mother’s Days alone… without my children, two of whom were toddlers at the time.  Talk about pain… I learned something from those sad, weepy Mother’s Days.  I learned that for all women, Mother’s Day isn’t a happy occasion.  For many, Mother’s Day is a reminder that a mother has been lost, that a woman who meant everything is no longer on this planet to do anything.  It could be a reminder that a mother-daughter relationship cannot be saved or that the relationship that exists will never be what the mother OR daughter hoped it would.  It can also be a reminder that a mother is without her children, children who are no longer on the earth, no longer in her home, or no where to be found.

It’s so important as women breadwinners to remember that Mother’s Day, for many women, hurts.  There will be many who never say a word about their pain.  They’ll work through Sunday, cook through Sunday,  eat through Sunday, cry through Sunday, exercise through Sunday, breathe through Sunday but they’ll never speak about their pain on Sunday.  One of my favorite quotes says, “Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”  Before you say “Happy Mother’s Day” on Facebook, Twitter, or in person, give a moment of pause for all of the women for whom Mother’s Day is still as bitter as it is sweet.

Taking a break… (Read Time: 1 min.)

back turnedSomething spoke to me this morning… in my spirit… in my heart… and it said, “Where’s the adventure gone?”  So I’m taking a two to four week hiatus from She Runs the Show to figure that out.  I’m certain I will but, in the meantime, feel free to comment on previous posts.  I’ll be checking in and promise to be back in June with fresh material, new thoughts, and even greater techniques for running your show.

See you in a few weeks!

Who do you think you are? (Read Time: 3 min.)

girls fightingEver have someone say that to you?

Not because they don’t know your name… Not because they aren’t clear on what you asked for… And certainly not because they have difficulty hearing… BUT because they think you have some nerve asking for what you’re asking for… Ever have that happen?

Join the club!  Although most people won’t say it using those exact words, there are lots of subtle ways that people will say to the woman breadwinner, “Where do you get off wanting that much, doing that much, being that much, asking for that much, pursuing that much?” and while you can quote “sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me”, one fact remains true:

It stings. 

It stings because you’ve worked hard to get where you are.  It stings because you aren’t asking from a place of entitlement but a place of deserving.  It stings because somewhere deep down inside, maybe just maybe you have an inner critic who plays that not enough/you-don’t-deserve-it card and the last place you need to hear it again is from your boss, your mother, your sibling, or, God forbid, your spouse…

So what do you do when you stand up in the world, ask for what you need, and have the world respond to you with something that says…

Don’t be too big for your britches!

You do three things:

  1. Remind yourself who you are.  I AM are two of the most powerful words in the English language.  When you find people telling you who you are NOT, you need to go in a closet or get in front of a mirror and start reminding yourself, OUT LOUD, who YOU REALLY are.  What I mean is:
  • I AM powerful!
  • I AM prosperous!
  • I AM strong!
  • I AM capable!
  • I AM diligent!
  • I AM loving and lovable!
  • I AM wonderfully made!
  • I AM destined for greatness!
  • I AM wise beyond measure!
  • I AM deserving of my highest good!
  • I AM wealthy!
  • I AM fit and strong!
  • I AM healthy!
  • I AM focused!
  • I AM determined!
  • I AM worthy!
  1. Remember who this is REALLY about.  Hurting people hurt people.  When someone declares your unworthiness, they are really speaking about their own.  As Don Miguel Ruiz says in The Four Agreements, “Don’t taken ANYONE personally…”  What they are saying to you is about them.  People deflect and transfer their emotions and feelings on others as a defense mechanism, a way of not having to cope with their own crap.  Do not take it personally.
  2. Reframe what the meaning of the encounter is.  You may not get to choose what the other person said to you but you certainly get to choose what it means to you.  Ask yourself, “If this situation was meant to build me up (instead of beat me up), what meaning would I give it?  What lesson is here for me?  How can I take what he/she said and leverage it for my success?”  Barbara Corcoran tells a story about how what her ex-husband said to her as he was leaving her and splitting up their business catapulted her to strike out on her own and become a mega success.  She could’ve taken his words as the signal of her demise.  She didn’t do that.  She reframed and ran with it.  You can do the same.  Check out Barbara’s video on how an insult made her an entrepreneur HERE.

I’d love your commentary on this. 

Have you ever been in a situation where someone said (in some way, shape or form) “Who do you think you are?”?

How did you handle it?

If that were to happen again, how would you handle it differently?