“Take Care, TCB”

When I was in elementary school, my best friend and I shut ourselves up in her basement to beat Super Mario Brothers. super-mario-brosWe spent hours listening to Beatles albums (yes, albums…there was a fantastic turntable in that room) while entering secret rooms for unlimited lives to rescue Princess Toadstool from King Koopa. Double whammy of disappointment for my poor mother: I was becoming a gamer and singing every Beatles song I learned. As my mother said, “I didn’t like them when I was a kid; I don’t want to listen to them, now!” Her punishment was my education in Motown. Well played (literally), Mom. Sorry, dear readers, Motown is way better than the Beatles.

aretha-franklinAs I grew into my sassy teens, my mom responded with sassy Motown. See also: Aretha Franklin. Interesting fact: legendary Motown artist Otis Redding wrote one of Aretha’s greatest hits, “Respect.” More interesting fact: Aretha vamped some additional lyrics to put her own stamp on the song, including the oft-misspoken “Take care, TCB”.

TCB, Taking Care of Business

Respect becomes one of the most important values in the life of tweens and teens. Respect, or lack thereof, is the reason venom seeps out of your sweet child’s mouth and anger drips out of their noncompliant bodies. Moms and dads, what are our responses? Show some respect”  or “Respect your elders.”  My response? Take care, TCB:

  • Two-way street: Like all parenting, you have to model appropriate behavior.
    My boys walking, talking, and filling my heart the same way.
    My boys walking, talking, and filling my heart the same way.

    You have to show respect to your tweens and teens by starting to see them as their own, growing individual, separate from your husband’s sense of humor or your facial expressions. You have to shed all stories that start, “When I was your age,” and end, “I did the same thing when I was your age.” It is important to start talking and listening to your tween and teen to meet the new person they are becoming. This will deepen your relationship and earn respect, a necessary step when you have to play the “Mom card” or “Dad card” to prevent your growing child from making a life-changing mistake.

  • Consistency: Respect is a feeling of admiration for someone based on general behaviors or achievements. Becoming a parent is achievement enough to elicit respect from your children, your family, strangers, animals, etc.
    Definition of trust
    Definition of trust

    It is a hard job. Parenting tweens and teens means living your life under a microscope powered by your children. It becomes your job to say what you mean, mean what you say, and behave in a way that is consistent with those words.

  • Boundaries: Don’t get mad, but somehow in showing your child you are a person and learning who they are as a person, you have to maintain clear boundaries. You are still the parent. You are still the top dog, head honcho, and benevolent dictator of their lives. While your tween and teen is behaviorally toddling around, they need your no-nonsense rules and expectations to stay the same as they were when he was a toddler. This is no time to be friends.

Spark Note Summary

As a mom, I give myself a daily medal for keeping my son alive and happy. I am stockpiling all unused treasures to create a monument worthy if I achieve the next level, helping nurture a young man who is kind, observant, empathetic, and respectful. Because these values are crucial to the goodness of our children, it is really hard work. Using these tips to take care of business will help the job.

In Gut We Trust

I’m not sure when it became standard operating procedure to tell the story of how you met your spouse when you first meet people. My snarky retort for “how did you and your husband get together” is ALWAYS: “It’s an awful Nicholas Sparks novel, and I don’t look good in it.” It’s true. thI have known my husband since I was 19, dated him briefly when I was 21-22, but didn’t marry him until a decade later. We stayed friendly over the decade between “it’s not you, it’s me” and “I do”. He came for a visit in 2010. I cooked dinner. We laughed and were ridiculous until he left to return to his primary reason for the trip from Tucson to Chicago, a family visit. The second the door closed behind him, I called my best friend. “I think I just let my husband walk out the door.”

What!?!?! I didn’t know until….I knew!!

Common Memories and Legacies

I spent most of my 20’s learning how to trust my gut. I had spent the previous two decades relying only on my intelligence. I had lost touch with my instinct, my gut. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. There is so much focus on HOW you know WHAT you know, we have let our instinct diminish.

  • What Is It?: Our instinct is actually the primal part of the brain, commonly referred to as the subconscious, that kept us alert and alive during caveman times. Despite being ignored, your primal brain is responsible for your automatic responses to stimuli. Our brains have been hard wired over centuries to be afraid img_4029of some objects while understanding and accepting others.Here’s an example of (cultural) subconscious. While visiting my family in NJ, my son picked up a phone (that was not ringing) and said, “Hello!” Let’s do the math: I haven’t had a land line in 15 years, and my son is 4 years old. How did he know that was a phone?
  • Where Does It Come From?: Carl Jung would attribute that knowledge to archetypal memories, or a collective unconscious, that exists as the combination between instinct and archetypes. Consider how many people have a fear of snakes. Their instinct tells them to be wary of this creature as a potential sense of harm. Jungian psychologists trace that instinct to the snake
    "Snakes, why does it always have to be snakes?" - Indiana Jones
    “Snakes, why does it always have to be snakes?” – Indiana Jones

    as a common character in world religions and mythology that deceives others. In fact, most of you probably took some form of the Myers-Briggs Personality test designed by Jungian psychologists; they are often disguised as employment surveys. Intuition is the second letter of your four letter personality profile.

  • How Is It Helpful? There was a comprehensive study documented by Kelly Turner in her book, Radical Remission, which recounts amazing stories of terminal cancer patients who survived by making decisions based on their intuition. The belief that a strong intuition can create positive situations and outcomes has even made its way into the world of business. Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink uses the term “rapid cognition” instead of intuition. (I assume he wants to get the connotations of hippie-belief and mysticism away from his best selling books.) Card tricks, car buying, and marriage have all been researched through the lens of intuition. The results don’t change: people who are advised by their brain but decide with their gut are happier than those who out-think their instincts. 

Spark Note Summary

Your instincts are primal. Your primal self is emotional and relational. It will be easier to trust others when you trust yourself, trust your gut. The best way to nourish and nurture your gut is to disconnect from our devices and reconnect with our friends and family. (After texting, tweeting, and sharing this blog, of course…)

Just Your Typical Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

This is the millennial version of a "doozy"
This is the millennial definition of a “doozy”

This week has been a doozy. While dancing at a wedding, I broke my foot. Nothing special there; apparently, it is called a “dancer’s fracture.” (Side lesson to be learned: keep your heels on because flip flops give no protection against missteps.) My crew took care of me with ice and Advil, and we all finished the night still smiling and laughing. I’m now in a fashionable boot hobbling around for the next 4-6 weeks.

Normally, my paramedic husband would have swooped in and triaged my injury. But, he was on Daddy Duty at home. We were supposed to sneak away for our first weekend, child free in four years. Unfortunately, we were unable to import our go-to babysitter, my mother. She was sidelined due to a family history of high blood pressure that decided that this very weekend was the one that no medication or exercise could decrease to an acceptable level for airline travel.

So, I’m hobble-chasing my toddler in between check-up calls to my mother. Hold your applause and sighs, my beloved readers. This snapshot of caring for a child AND a parent has become common place. Welcome to the Sandwich Generation!

Feeling Squished?

I cannot take credit for the term, “sandwich generation.” A social worker named Dorothy Miller first used this moniker to describe women in their late 30’s and early 40’s who were taking care of aging parents at the same time they were raising younger children. sandwich-generationA poll conducted by the  Pew Research Center in 2013 discovered that 15% of people from ages 40-59 provide some financial support to an aging parent and a grown child. My concern, and newest focus for my private family counseling, is for the 38% of those same men and women whose grown children and parents rely on them for emotional support. When gifted with the opportunity to provide intergenerational counseling, here are some of the key concepts I hope I leave behind:

  • The Earlier, The Better: Conversations about aging have a terrible reputation for being morose and pessimistic. That is because we all wait too late to talk about any life change until we are in reactionary mode. Flip the switch! Be proactive by talking to aging parents before they are elderly. Don’t waste time talking about living wills or advanced directives, either. Spend every conversation laughing and smiling about the quality of life your parents have developed and take mental notes (if not physical notes) about how to preserve that quality of life. There is a fantastic card game created to start the discussion by the non-profit organization, Aging With Dignity, perfect for a family game night. I played it with my husband (similar to a game of Go Fish) and learned his top priority for aging is to be kept clean. It’s more important to him than trusting doctors or being with friends. He wants to be clean so he can always be touched. Lesson learned: 50 years (I hope) before this becomes a medical directive, I spend more time holding his hand, rubbing his arm…and I’m teaching our son that newfound family value by modeling what makes Daddy feel loved. How’s that for intergenerational counseling?
  • The Answer to Every “Why” Is “Once Upon a Time”: There are so many questions that crop up when one generation sits with another. Often, it is the younger parent asking why their childhood turned out a certain way in the hopes of not repeating the outcome for their child. (Give it a minute — intergenerational counseling is only complicated when I try to explain it in the abstract.) These questions get more uncomfortable
    "Maybe it's not about the happy ending. Maybe it's about the story."
    “Maybe it’s not about the happy ending. Maybe it’s about the story.”

    when the plans for an aging parent are being discussed. Why do you want to stay at home? Why don’t you want to give up your driver’s license? The answer is in a memory from your parent’s childhood or experience about how it feels when they saw others growing old. Get used to listening to “why” instead of judging it; within the silence of listening comes the calm of understanding.

  • We Are Family…Still!: If you aren’t singing the Sister Sledge song now, you should be. And, pay attention to the lyrics. The family dynamics that existed when you were growing up, my brother is the favorite, Mom bakes to avoid conflict, Dad defers his opinions to Mom, etc., will return with renewed fervor when Mom and Dad need more help. It doesn’t matter which child lives closest or knows more about the family medical history. The way your family of origin was set up will dictate the dynamics of how caring for aging parents play out now.

Spark Note Summary

Intergenerational counseling is more than legal rights and medical decisions for your parent and more than detailed educational planning for your child. Talking about the quality of life you want as an aging adult sets up the values that will become the legacy for your child to inherit. Don’t BE a peanut butter and jelly sandwich…MAKE one for yourself…and your mom and teach your son to make one for you….and your husband…

PEEK-A-Boo: Playing the Privacy Game With Your Tween and Teen

It starts out so innocently…

Your sweet toddler gently closes the door during potty (a feat you have not been able to accomplish since he was born)…

Progresses slowly….

Your double-digit little girl firmly closes the door to get dressed before school…….opening-a-door

Arrives harshly…

Your tween shakes the house with a loud slam of the door the minute after any transition in household routine (home from school, before dinner, after dinner, etc.)

The reason for this death spiral….PRIVACY!

Because this new desire for “me” time starts sweetly, I have no clinical experience with the benefits of privacy for younger children. I am usually called in to wrangle a growing kiddo who talks and acts completely opposite from their younger selves. So, I have a lot to say about helping your frustration and, dare I say, anger, when your not-so-sweet teenager enters the Door Slamming Olympiad.

Warning: Opening THEIR Door Requires Yours to Open, Too

loyalty-poster
“Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a civilization work” – Vince Lombardi

The reason privacy becomes such an intense issue is because of its twin, trust. Erikson believed that developing trust between parent and child starts at birth. Okay, so your newborn knows he can trust you to jump up at the hint of a whimper to attend to his needs. My concern comes from a later stage, Erikson’s Identity vs. Role Confusion. The goal for tweens and teens ages 12 to 18 is to learn the virtue of fidelity. Fidelity means the ability to consistently be loyal and supportive to a person or cause. Tall order, huh? When the issue of privacy arises in your home, my advice is to take a PEEK.

  • Partner: Join with your partner in life to prepare to partner with your kid. It is imperative that you and you partner agree on the boundaries you will set up for your child. Do you agree to check their phones? Facebook page? Instagram? Snapchat? Once that happens, sit down with your privacy-seeking, almost-grown tween and discuss rules and consequences. At this point in life, your child needs to literally have a seat at the table. A family meeting that clearly writes out the “if….then” of privacy means less fighting should those rules be bent or broken.
  • Expect confrontation. It is horrible to be caught off guard. You WILL have doors slammed in your face. best-dad-awardYou WILL be told you are unfair, hated, and the worst parent…ever! WHEN that happens, take a moment and give yourself a nice pat on the back. Those parental insults mean you are doing your job of setting clear and consistent boundaries.
  • Expose yourself as a person. The titles of “Mom” and “Dad” become monikers of tyranny in the eyes of your tween. It’s time to show them who YOU (Amy, Joe, Janice, etc.) are as a real person.
    Wayne's World version of Bohemian Rhapsody
    Wayne’s World version of Bohemian Rhapsody

    Warning: this is not the part of the blog where you have permission to ramble on with stories that begin, “When I was your age…” I’m talking about sharing what you love with your kid. Blast Def Leppard while driving her to practice and sing unapologetically loud as you slay the air guitar at the red light. Excitedly summarize the new book you are reading. Confess your little white lie that you don’t obsessively play Angry Birds (still) and make her watch a few levels.

  • Keep calm, keep talking, and keep listening. The hands-down best professor I had in grad school was my professor for Marriage and Family. Dr. Skiba, from whom I have permission to steal the upcoming words of wisdom, explained the paradigm shift of parenting a tween or teen: “When you raise a child, you control the child. When you raise a teenager, you have to control yourself.” (If I had a mic, I’d drop it and walk away.)

Spark Note Summary

The goal of these years where privacy and trust are paramount is to win the trust of your child so he doesn’t feel like privacy is a daily battle. Like all parenting, you have to model what that relationship looks like. Resist the urge to hide behind your title of “Mom” or “Dad” by trusting your child with the pieces of you that got left behind when you became a parent. Peek-A-Boo…..I see YOU!

We Are the Champions…We Are the Champions…

opening ceremonyI love watching the opening ceremony for the Olympics. For these couple of hours, in this arena, the whole world is pure optimism and potential, honor and joy. Anything can happen, every athlete is a champion.

In the two weeks after the opening ceremonies, certain few athletes will be victorious. Some will break records and we’ll gasp at their feats.

But for every medal winner, there are dozens of athletes who will go home empty-handed. After years of sweat, pain, frustration, injury, and sacrifice most of the athletes will fall short of achieving their goal. Have you heard of Miguel Duran Navia? This swimmer earned a spot in the 2012 Olympics, only to be disqualified when he tumbled into the pool before the start of a preliminary heat. He was allowed to go through the trials anyway, but failed to qualify for the final races. He failed. Miserably. 

Did he crawl in a hole and give up? Nope. He’s back; he spent the past four years training and he’s determined to do things right this time. He might win the gold. But then, he might not. The Olympics is as much about frustration and failure as it is about prowess and triumph.

Secret Lesson Plans from a Successful Teacher

As a classroom teacher, I have many objectives, some dictated to me by the nation, state, district, and school administration. Others are determined by the individual needs of my students. Further goals are ones I know I must achieve even though you’ll never find them explicitly stated on any curriculum map, set of standards, or lesson plan:

  1. Learning is hard. It’s supposed to be! We usually suck at something we’ve never tried before. Michael Phelps might have had an incredible talent for swimming, but he still had to  learn correct form, repeating moves time and again until he had them right. The early stages of learning new skills and concepts should be a little frustrating. The trick is to guide students past the point of frustration while giving them the opportunity for discovering solutions. A student who in never frustrated tends to give up more easily than students who experience some degree of frustration early in learning. I can give your child a formula or silly song to memorize almost anything, but true learning means facing—and triumphing over—frustration. 
  2. One of the most demoralizing and terrifying experiences is to fail. And yet, failure is universal. try againAny scientist knows failure is the path to discovery. The creative process depends upon experimentation; I’ve never heard of a single musician who created original music without playing a single off note. There was a WD-1 long before the scientists reached the magic formula of WD-40. What better time to learn how to survive failure than when the stakes are low? A good teacher builds safe failure into learning: a math challenge or science experiment in which students learn through trial and error. I will discourage you from rescuing your child when they forget an assignment at home. Your child will learn failure is survivable and will build up a little failure-immunity when the world gets tougher. 
  3. I know, these items on my agenda make me sound like a horrible, cruel teacher. There will be days your child will agree. But I will carefully monitor your child’s learning for potential frustration and failure; I will work with you and your child to develop strategies and self-confidence to work past failure. I will be there to celebrate every success. Further, I will build into the classroom culture a safe environment for learning, the knowledge that failure and frustration is a normal part of learning, and model the practice of encouraging and supporting each other. 

So yes, I have a secret agenda. My ultimate goal? curious childTo see your child leave my classroom resourceful, resilient, confident, caring, and passionately interested in the world around them. 

Spark Note Summary

When asked, most athletes who fail to take home a medal do not consider themselves failures. Yes, they failed to win the gold, but they showed up at the greatest competition in the world and gave it their all. That alone makes them champions. Don’t we want the same for our children?

Thank you, Cyra, for sharing your “real” lessons plans for all parents and teachers to learn. Feel free to post a comment or connect with Cyra for more information.

Keeping Kittens in a Box

All this month we are talking about education. Teachers, parents and students all need to prepare for going back to school. Before you skip a blog, keep this in mind: I have successfully survived your child’s lack of focus, need for attention, urge to get under my skin, and hormonal roller coaster while providing direct instruction covertly covering dozens of educational standards. Multiplied by anywhere from 20 to 41 kids just like him. Not only did I survive, I managed accolades for me and high test scores for them. There is a reason I was nicknamed “Big Mama”; my students were my kids.

In 1983, I was in Mrs. Cullen’s second grade class. I have two district memories from that year that helped shape the more than thirty years that came next. First, I had a really hard time memorizing my multiplication tables. learning mathThat chart of 144 boxes loomed over me, taunting me, from its daunting position on the front bulletin board. I learned then math and I were going to be frenemies. Second, at the end of the year, Mrs. Cullen gifted me two or three old teacher’s editions. I had no idea why she bestowed those heavy, paperback books with the correct responses typed in bright blue upon me. Could she have seen something in my seven year old soul that showed a kindred spirit for teaching?

It took 13 years to get my own teacher’s editions. It was also almost that same amount of time that I cultivated a program of classroom management that helped bookend my career with awards. Year one: a fight nearly broke out in my junior English class of 41 students. Two teenagers, allegedly from rival gangs, turned angry words into physical posturing. My desks were loudly pushed aside to accommodate the theater in the round growing around the now standing conflict. I was so appalled at their behavior, I shamed them into sitting back down after apologizing to me for unruly behavior in “my house.” That year I was honored in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. 

Fast forward to year 15: my classroom of seventh graders volunteered to work through lunch (it was a two-hour class broken up by a 40 minute lunch) in exchange for finishing our read aloud book, Notes From the Midnight Driver. In fact, these kids would negotiate any terms to be rewarded with a moving debate or a spoken word video. I called them my “magic class” for too many reasons to list and too much sentimentality to explain. That year I was honored by the New Teacher Project as an Honor Roll recipient of the Fishman Prize for Superlative Classroom Practice.

The Five P’s of Classroom Management 

I know, it doesn’t sound exciting or movie-worthy to brag about my talents for classroom management. These skills, however, are invaluable to success in the classroom (and can be easily translated to less conflict at home).

  • Placement: Before the students even step foot in your room, you need to be strategic. Consider what supplies the students will need daily, and make sure they are all within steps of each other. Some of the best time-wasters are the need to get paper, the dictionary, a textbook, or sharpen a pencil. Students wind up walking all over the room socializing with friends and distracting you from the lesson. My students, literally, could not walk more than five feet into my room without getting every supply for the day, regardless of the lesson plan. (See my Class map.)

You also need to be able to place yourself anywhere in the room when teaching. There used to be a saying that “effective teachers teach from the back of the room.” I would amend that by saying that effective teachers can teach from any part of the room. The students should be able to track you like a kitten with a laser light.

  • Policy: The district and school set their policies for behavior. But, you need to set your own policies that establish the culture of your room. This is not a collaborative process. You are the boss, the CEO, or, as I used to say, the queen of the fiefdom. If you set up class rules WITH the students, they are correct in thinking they can negotiate those rules at any given time. Bye, bye, school year! Your policies should be detailed extensions of the school’s student handbook. The goal is to keep any discipline issues in your room, managed by you. Sending a student to administration (unless safety is an issue) is sending your authority out with them.
  • Procedure: You will have a successful year if, within the first 3-4 days of school, you have cultivated a classroom of drones. Mindless, automated academic machines. Practice these tasks like fire drills using those fun, first day of school exercises everyone does. Then, fight the stress and anxiety of “wasting” that time by not jumping in on the litany of standards you have to cover for the year. I need you to trust me that the speed with which you are able to deliver effective instruction will increase exponentially when you don’t have to add instructions every day about how to turn in work or put away books.
  • Power (here is where they psychology peeks back in): It is the job of any child to test their boundaries. It is the mistake of most adults to stymy those efforts. Lean in, like a car skidding in snow. (I make no apologies to anyone who has lived a lifetime void of driving in hazardous weather.) The students I taught, from grades 6 through 12, were all feeling good about themselves after negotiating stage 4 of Erikson’s developmental model. Add to that some cultural blunders that led to children feeling entitled to everything and getting a say in their rearing. Now you have a generation of teachers struggling to embrace their power without feeling like they are robbing their beloved students of voice and choice. Rest assured, the boundaries you put up are just what students need to feel safe enough to challenge themselves to the academic rigors of your room.
  • Personalization (not you..them!): Here is a great activity for first day fun that teaches you a lot about the culture of your kids. Yes, they are getting up around the room and talking to everyone. They are gathering valuable intel for you! You will be able to discover which kids are interested in sports, astrology, pop culture, etc. which means you can tailor activities and re-teach lessons that students didn’t master. IMG_4915

Also, your classroom should be decorated for the students’ comfort and success, not yours. If you must bring in some touches of home, link it to your academic journey. I had a small cork board behind my desk with my (ancient) certificates from French Honor Society and National Honor Society next to my varsity letter for volleyball. Don’t give your students a reason to think they “know” you. That is the first sign you are slip-and-sliding into a year of discipline issues.

Spark Notes Summary

I have done my best to condense my full-day workshop into some key ideas to help get your year started right. box of kittensThe truth is, you are creating a home, a little box in which you and your students will to achieve greatness. You have to be clear and consistent within those four walls. Not just with the kids…with yourself. Students, like animals, can sense fear and lack of self-confidence from miles away. If that happens, those kittens are crawling out of the box, lost until the start of the next school year.

Next week, we have a guest blogger, LiveNLearn’s Cyra Sadowl! As a birthday present to me, she is taking over the blog for a week. Get ready for new insights, and the same brand of humor.

I’ve Misplaced Myself

IMG_4541My son turned four years old on Sunday. That was also Mother’s Day. Anyone that pointed out that coincidence (which will happen roughly every seven years) heard me gush that without his birthday, I wouldn’t be able to celebrate Mother’s Day. Sounds sweet, doesn’t it?

My Mother's Day Cards
My Mother’s Day Cards

Secretly, though, I was a little cranky about sharing my day. It has nothing to do with how much I adore my son. It has everything to do with losing the opportunity to be seen and celebrated. Like so many moms, motherhood put me one step further away from who I am as an individual void of relational terms. I used to be Amy. She was silly and smart, irreverent and intense, selfish and selfless. Every year, it seems like I add more titles, mother, supervisor, blogger, that load me up on external expectations and make it harder to see the individual behind those roles.

BE CALM

Part of my job is providing workshops for any and all individuals who devote their lives to others, firefighters, volunteers, moms… At the end of my Help for the Helpers workshop, I provide an acronym that helps keep people reconnect with the individual in the mirror. These are everyday tricks to lower stress based on what biologically happens in your brain and to your body.

landscape of green

  • Breathe in oxygen: When you are experiencing stress, your brain channels its activity to stay alert and keep you alive. The fight, flight and freeze responses stay active until the levels of adrenaline and cortisol let the body know you are safe. The problem is there is a lack of oxygen going to the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that you use to set priorities and regulate emotions. By surrounding yourself in an oxygen rich environment, you can force oxygen into the prefrontal cortex and help yourself return to a more rational, measured state of problem solving effectiveness.
  • Emote – tear up, sob out: Crying sheds the body of toxins. Research shows that emotional tears, separate from tears of pain, have a high level of the hormone that controls mood and stress tolerance. When the levels of that hormone return to normal, so does the emotional state.
  • Celebrate micro wins in a macro way: Finishing the laundry. Getting your child to complete homework without a fight. Getting praise for a project completed at work. These events are all worthy of a celebration. By recognizing that you are taking successful baby steps towards a larger goal, a clean house, an independent child, a successful business person, you can sustain yourself for the long haul.
  • Accept a compliment: You are unique, and the things you are able to accomplish are also unique. Plenty of people are parents or hold the same job title as you do. But, only you have achieved success in those arenas. Along with the micro win, you need the recognition from someone outside of the mirror to tell you that you did well. Our society is trained to connect accomplishment with pubic validation. We give our kids participation ribbons and employees premier parking to publicize their worth. There is nothing wrong with a barista telling you the time you spent before ordering your chai was worthwhile. When you dismiss your success, you distance yourself from the ability to celebrate the bigger win.
  • Let one day be all about you: Women are forever pushing themselves down the priority list. We sacrifice a manicure for a kid’s toy. We give up an hour of peace and quiet to let our husband have time out with his friends. For one day, treat yourself like you treat the ones you love. Commit with your whole heart and calendar a measurable chunk of time to appreciate and celebrate the individual you are by giving the cook, cleaning lady, scheduler, shopper, etc. a day off!listening to music
  • Music, music, music! – a no brainer: Research conducted with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, and recorded in the documentary Alive Inside, has concluded that music accesses a part of the brain that connects individuals to parts of themselves and their brains that were once thought lost to disease. As pregnant mothers, we played Brahms and Mozart through headphones on our bellies because we understood the power of music on a developing brain. That brain functions much the same way at the other end of the life span. Grab your iPhone and give the family some headphones, or grab some headphones and ignore the family altogether, and blast the music from your childhood. Choose music that connects to when you had the least amount of titles, pre-mom and pre-wife and pre-bad ass businesswoman.

Spark Note Summary

The analogy about self-care that likens it to putting the oxygen mask on yourself before others in the event of a plane crash is problematic. It implies you only need to take care of yourself in a crisis. If you can take care of yourself a little every day, the chance that an event will feel like a crisis is…what? The same chance as being in plane crash?